Another Local Projectile Point – Marrow Mountain

by Elizabeth PaynterArchaeological Lab Director

A projectile point type that can be found in Fairfax County is the Marrow Mountain I projectile point. This point has broad triangle shaped blade with a short contracting stem that is somewhat pointed. As noted in the post Projectile Points – Contracting Stems, a contracting stem is a stem that tapers towards the base. Marrow Mountain points were manufactured roughly between 5100 to  the Archaic Period. Most consider the Marrow Mountain to be a Middle Archaic point.

The Marrow Mountain point is often roughly made. Larger points often made through the process of direct percussion and little to no pressure flaking. However, smaller points were finished by pressure flaking and are more symmetrical in form than their larger counterparts. As you can see in the picture above sides are often slightly rounded with the greatest width of the point occurring at the shoulder. The stem itself is short.

The Marrow Mountain II point is a variation. Marrow Mountain II tends to have a narrower blade and a longer stem.

References

MAC Lab. 2012. Diagnostic Artifacts in Maryland. Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab (MAAC Lab). Originally Published 2002. Electronic. http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/index.htm accessed September 13, 2017

Justice, Noel D. 1987. Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of the Midcontinental and Eastern United States, A Modern Survey and Reference. Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana

VDHR Collections. Native American Comparative Collections. Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Electronic. http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/arch_DHR/archaeo_lpc.htm accessed September 13, 2017

 

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CART Bi-Weekly Update

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Indian Fest Today!!!

Come join us at Riverbend Park for the annual Indian Fest!

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Honey, I Shrunk the Artifacts

by Avery Jones Archaeological Intern

I began volunteering here just under a month ago. I have since begun an internship which will fulfill the last 2 credits I need to earn a B.S. in Anthropology from James Madison University. During my time with C.A.R.T. I have had the privilege of assisting in the field and in the lab. As Jean discussed in earlier blogposts, the team is currently excavating a cellar feature. After sifting the dirt through quarter inch screen, the remaining dirt is bagged for water screening. With the addition of a second water screening station , it is now possible for volunteers to help out in this stage, as well. Once the finer sediments are washed through window mesh, we are left with a matrix of rock granules with (now visible) tiny artifacts mixed within. A couple days of drying and we are ready to start picking.

Figure 1: The Set-up

In my opinion, picking is very similar to field excavation, but on a micro scale, and with the luxury of air conditioning on these hot and muggy summer days. Like fieldwork, it is also a process that requires a thorough attention to detail which might seem tedious to some people. One of our regular volunteers in the lab, Steve B. , says, “You either love it or you hate it.” With a shrug and a smile he adds, “I kinda enjoy it.” Asked what he enjoys about it, he responds, “finding beads!” I have to agree with Steve. Every find is somehow exhilarating, but when you come upon something like a bead or a straight pin, it’s really special.

Figure 2: The rock and artifact matrix ripe for picking. An animal bone stands out in right center.

Under the magnifying glass, the mass of tiny rocks are somehow transformed into something actually quite beautiful as thousands of mica fragments sparkle in the light. It is against this backdrop that the artifacts are hidden in plain view. I grew up gazing at the pages of Where’s Waldo? and I Spy books and picking artifacts reminds me of an interactive version set to expert mode. Artifacts that we are finding include beads, straight pins, lead shot, eggshell, animal bone, fish scales, metal fragments, flakes from stone tool production (lithics), glass and ceramic sherds (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Animal bone, eggshell, seeds, fish scale/bone, glass, lithics, lead shot, straight pins, ceramic sherds, and metal.

Each of these types of artifacts have the potential to shed light on the lives of the people who once lived on this site. Beads and straight pins may give us information on women who are largely under- represented  in the historical record. Lead shot, stone tool fragments, flora, and fauna remains may suggest what they ate, as well as, how and where they got it. Ceramic sherds can provide dates for occupation based on manufacturing technique and design. In answering questions such as these, we begin to see how the products of our picking can provide information on environment, trade, and social interaction. We begin to get a sense of the world in which these people lived. For me, it becomes extremely gratifying as these artifacts begin to tell us their story. The knowledge that this work is providing an integral service to a greater understanding of not only the past, but the people of the past, makes the hours spent picking worthwhile.

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Virginia Indian Festival

Please join CART and other groups at the Virginia Indian Festival: Saturday 9 Sept. 2017

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CART Bi-Weekly Update

25 August 2017

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Virginia Indian Heritage by Dr. Wood

Talk by Dr. Karenne Wood of the Virginia Indian Program on the history and culture of Virginia’s Native American peoples.

Sunday, August 27, 3:30 to 4:30 at Pohick Regional Library

Dr. Wood is the director of the Virginia Indian Programs at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in Charlottesville. She directed a tribal history project for the Monacan Nation, and served on the National Congress of American Indians’ Repatriation Commission. In 2015 she was named one of the Library of Virginia’s”Virginia Women in History.

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