Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stone Cold Inspiration for SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL

Alibates Chert discoidal biface found by the Author on a ranch in
northern Colorado. The type of flaking and its association with four other
Folsom artifacts led the Author to believe this discoidal biface was
associated with the Folsom Complex or culture.
 The 4.1-inch long discoidal biface above was my inspiration for the prehistoric fiction novels in the Shadows on the Trail Trilogy. The prehistoric hunter who made this discoidal biface used it as an all-purpose tool for scraping animal hides, chopping wood, and cutting through animal bone and tendons. In addition, this nomadic hunter probably used this discoidal biface as a portable rock supply if he was not near a rock quarry or source of rock. When he needed a new stone tool or projectile point, he simply hammered off a piece of rock from the discoidal biface and made a new tool or projectile point, right there on the spot.

Concave profile makes author
believe that this discoidal biface
would have ultimately became
an ultrathin knife form, another
artifact type associated with
Folsom People.
I found this discoidal biface in northern Colorado on a site where I have documented prehistoric artifacts dating from 13,000 years ago to historical times. This discoidal biface had something else interesting about it. The prehistoric hunter had made this discoidal biface from Alibates Chert, a rock type originating from the Panhandle of Texas, some five hundred miles to the south. This led me to believe that the prehistoric hunter made the discoidal biface in Texas and then transported it by foot to northern Colorado where he lost or misplaced it.
Finding Alibates Chert in northern Colorado is not a common occurrence and this was the first discoidal biface I had ever found made from this rock type. Why did this prehistoric human carry this large piece of Alibates Chert all the way from Texas when there were numerous sources of rock within a stone’s throw (pardon the pun) of where I found this artifact? It appears that prehistoric humans were enamored with the mystical beauty of Alibates Chert. This rock type has a wide geographic distribution during prehistoric times so the people were either carrying it long distances for their own personal consumption or they were trading it with other people who carried it back to their 'stomping grounds'.     

For those of you unfamiliar with Alibates Chert, it is a very distinctive, multicolored rock with colors ranging from maroon to red and gray to black. Mix in some white and tan with banded shades of pink, blue, purple, and brown and Alibates Chert exhibits a rainbow of colors. It is apparent that prehistoric hunters were fascinated with its bright and exotic colors and must have believed that the rock held some mystical power over the animals they hunted. Prehistoric people made some of the finest prehistoric artifacts in existence out of Alibates Chert.    
Alibates chert discoidal biface - the reverse side. Note the
pedogenic (secondary) carbonate deposit that has formed on this artifact.   
Of the thousands of artifacts that I have found, none of them captivates my imagination more than this particular discoidal biface. I do not know why, it is just special to me. When I found this ancient discoidal biface from Texas, my mind went into overdrive wanting to know who made it, what he or she was like, and how did it end up in northern Colorado.

The Shadows on the Trail Trilogy is my interpretation of how this particular artifact ended up in northern Colorado from Texas. The Shadows on the Trail Trilogy takes place at the end of the last Ice Age on the plains and mountains of Texas and Colorado. The end of the Ice Age was a time of global warming, rising air temperatures and melting ice caps and glaciers. It was a time when several large mammal species went extinct and when small bands of humans roamed the mountains and plains attempting to survive in an unforgiving and violent world.  This is a tale of three prehistoric tribes that collide and culminates into an emotional thriller filled with predatory animals, climate change and conflicts between humans. Click to Join the Adventure     

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