|FIGURE ONE. A perfect 2.2 inch long Folsom projectile point found by |
Lee Pinello Jr. on November 10, 1968 on a family farm in northern Colorado.
Note the flute or channel running up the middle of the point. John Branney Collection..
|FIGURE TWO. |
Click for SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL
Folsom points (Figure one) are thin, small to medium size, well-made projectile points with convex sides, a concave basal edge, sharp basal corners and ground stem edges. What makes Folsom projectile points distinctive from other prehistoric stone projectile point types? Besides the remarkable workmanship, the most distinctive characteristic of Folsom projectile points are the flutes or channels that run most of the length up the middle of the projectile point, starting at the base. The knapping skill required to create flutes on a Folsom projectile point is without equal in America’s prehistory. Even modern day knapping experts are challenged in making replica Folsom projectile points using the same tools and materials that were available to Folsom People in the Pleistocene.
When the Folsom People created these thin, fluted, projectile points, they not only created an important component in their weaponry, but they also created works of art. Folsom projectile points are arguably the finest projectile points ever made in North America. No one has yet confirmed the exact manufacturing process that Folsom People used to make these fluted projectile points. This is not to say that people do not have their pet theories. In fact, you can add me to that list of having a pet theory on how Folsom People made their projectile points.
In the first book of the QUADRILOGY titled SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL, I wrote about the
FIGURE THREE. Folsom point surface found on
private land in Natrona County, Wyoming.
John Branney Collection.
In the scene below from SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL, a young Folsom hunter named Chayton was learning how to make fluted projectile points from Tarca Sapa, a salty old tribal healer. In this scene Chayton shows up and wants Tarca Sapa to tutor him on the finer points of making fluted projectile points.
The platform was where Tarca Sapa focused his eyes. Tarca Sapa looked at each spear point carefully and put each inspected spear point in one of two piles. Once his inspection was over, Tarca Sapa touched the pile with seven spear points and said, “These points are good, the others need work. Now, let me see you drive a flute channel into the spear point.”
|FIGURE FOUR. 2.5 inch long|
Folsom preform certified by
John Branney Collection.
|FIGURE FIVE. Striking platform to |
create flute on projectile point.
|FIGURE SIX. Rounded and beveled tip |
of projectile point.
The fluted points that Chayton took to Tarca Sapa were not finished and looked like the unfinished Folsom preform projectile point in FIGURE FOUR. An anonymous collector found this Folsom preform projectile point in Mecosta County, Michigan. The material is Norwood Chert. This particular preform was ready for fluting. The Paleoindian knapper had pressure flaked both faces of the preform leaving closely spaced flakes terminating near the middle of the biface. He or she rounded, beveled and abraded the distal end or tip of the preform which aided the fluting process (FIGURE SIX). ight abrasion and grinding on the tip. Isolation of the central portion of the preform base or proximal end took place, leaving a platform nipple in the center of the base. Two pressure flakes were removed from either side of the platform nipple to allow the maker's antler punch to follow the channel flake easier. The platform nipple was beveled, ground, and polished. It was ready for Side A to be fluted. Age somewhere between 10900 and 10200 years ago. Finder unknown. Perino certification. Ex John Baldwin and Ron Van Heukelom Collections. John Branney Collection.