|Figure one. Bipoint knife form found in the 1950s on private land near the town |
of Farson in the Eden Valley of Wyoming. John Bradford Branney Collection.
What is a laurel leaf or bipoint knife form? In most cases, the name we call something adds clarity to the description of the item. In some cases, the name only adds confusion. In the case of laurel leaf or bipoint knife forms, the name adds clarity. Bipoint knife forms were named after prehistoric stone knives which have dual points, one on each end of the artifact. In the prehistoric record, bipoint knife forms have worldwide distribution and are currently the oldest continuously made tool form in human prehistory. The oldest documented example of a bipoint knife form came from Africa and investigators have dated its origin as far back as 75,000 years ago.
What does a bipoint knife form look like? Figure one is a photograph of a super rare bipoint knife form from the state of Wyoming in North America. This prehistoric knife form is not only bipointed, but is also has another Folsom characteristic, it is also ultrathin. This 6.8 inch long heavily patinated, bipointed ultrathin knife form was found in the early 1950s near the town of Farson in the Eden Valley of Wyoming. The original material, before chemical weathering took place, appears to be a moderate brown jasper. You can see a touch of this moderate brown jasper near the base of the knife form in the lower right-hand portion of the photograph.
|Figure two. Cross section of the bipoint ultrathin knife form in Figure one. |
John Bradford Branney Collection.
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As of the publication date of Bipoints Before Clovis, there were no clear documented associations between bipoint technology and Clovis technology. Let me repeat that because it is an important observation. There were no known examples of bipoint technology found with Clovis cultural material. It appears that Clovis people preferred other knife forms, such as the ovate knife forms. However, the Folsom culture was a different story. Investigators have tied some of the finest bipoint knife form examples in North America to the Folsom People.
How are bipoint knife forms made? They can start out as a biface or a blade. What is a blade? A blade is a piece of rock that a prehistoric knapper struck off a parent core rock. A blade is several times longer than it is wide. Prehistoric knappers produced bipoint knife forms from blades and then finished them as dual-pointed knife forms for cutting purposes . Prehistoric people rarely used bipoint knife forms as projectile points.
|Figure three. 4.2 inch long bipoint knife form found by |
Bob Knowlton with a cache of tools on a possible kill site.
John Bradford Branney Collection
This beautiful white knife form was associated with diagnostic projectile points giving the knife form a date sometime between 2,500 to 1,800 years before present, well after Paleoindians and Folsom people had left the planet. My point? Bipoint knife forms have similar morphological characteristics (shapes, forms, and their grouping into period styles) that were consistent across a long span of prehistory. Therefore, unless the bipoint knife form was found within an archaeologically dated context, it is difficult to assign the bipoint knife form to any specific culture or chronology.
|Figure four. Bipoint knife form from Wyoming|
John Bradford Branney Collection.
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