|Figure One - 3.5 inch long semi-translucent biface|
surface found in Wyoming. John Branney Collection.
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Now, what do you think about this knife form? Is it Folsom or could it be Clovis?
1. The dimensions of this knife form are as follows; it is 88 mm long, 42 mm wide, and 5 mm thick. The width to thickness ratio is 8.4. The arbitrary width to thickness ratio for ultrathin knife forms is 7 or greater.
2. The raw material is wild. A beautiful semi-translucent, banded petrified wood was used by its maker.
|Figure Three - 3.5 inch long biface surface found in Wyoming.|
One edge of the biface was polished smooth, indicating to me
this was used hand held. Note diving flakes near middle
of biface. John Branney Collection.
3. In several flake terminations, there appears to be oxidized red ochre stains and deposits. Ochre is a natural mineral containing ferric oxide. It is typically associated with clay and varies in color from light yellow to brown to red. Red ochre has been found in many different archaeological contexts including occupations, especially Paleoindian occupation floors. Stone artifacts were painted with the red ochre and sometimes weapons and tools were covered in the pigment. It has also been associated with burials. Red ochre was widely used at Paleoindian levels at the Powars II, Hanson, Hell Gap, Sheaman, and Medicine Lodge Creek sites in Wyoming. Investigators discovered a grinding slab used for pulverizing red ochre nodules and rocks in the Folsom level at the Agate Basin site in eastern Wyoming.
Note: I have NOT had this knife form chemically tested for the presence of iron or ochre. My assumption as to the presence of ochre is based on experience and observation of the deposits under high magnification.
4. We know prehistoric people used different types of ochre for paint pigment and we assume they used it for ritualistic purposes. Upper Paleolithic graves in Europe and at least one Clovis grave in the United States contained ochre. Ochre appeared to have an application in the Magdalenian in Europe as an ingredient in an adhesive that was used to haft knife forms and projectile points to handles and foreshafts. Perhaps, North American Paleoindians used red ochre for the same thing to haft points and knives. That would
|Figure Four - Red ochre in its natural state.|
|Figure Five - Clovis biface thinning sequence.|
Figure Six - Reverse side of 3.5 inch long biface. Note diving flakes near
middle of biface. John Branney Collection.
Few knife form or biface types are culturally diagnostic. It usually takes finding them in situ under a controlled archaeological process to determine age and cultural affiliation. This knife form was a surface find and I assume it was Folsom or Clovis, based on its production technology, knapping characteristics, and the presence of oxidized red ochre. But, just because that is what I think does not make it necessarily so. This is my opinion on this truly unique knife form.
So, what is your opinion? Is it a Clovis Ovate Biface
or a Folsom Ultrathin Knife or maybe something else?
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