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In the archaeological record of the High Plains of North America, at least two distinct cultures or complexes preceding the Folsom People, Clovis and Goshen. Some people contend that the Clovis People were the ancestors to the Folsom People, but there is no archaeological evidence that defines the relationship between Clovis and Folsom. Since Clovis or Folsom People did not leave behind any communications or documentation, we are left with what they left in recorded archaeological sites. This is scant information when trying to establish the relationships between these various prehistoric cultures.
Folsom People also made very thin bifaces with biplanar or biconcave profiles, instead of the typical biconvex biface profile of the Clovis People. These thin bifaces that Folsom People made were called ultrathin knife forms and I have previously published a blog posting on these knife forms. We also see an increase in the making and use of end scrapers from Clovis to Folsom cultures. End scrapers were a much more prevalent part of the stone tool kit during Folsom times.
What is a blade? Here is a definition from a wonderful book called Clovis Technology, written by Bradley, Collins, and Hemmings. The authors define blade as a specialized, elongated flake intentionally detached from a core selected and prepared for that purpose. This flake or blade is often twice as long as it is wide.
So, how did Clovis People make blades? Figure 2.7 is from another wonderful book entitled Clovis Blademaking Technology, written by Michael Collins. A general overview of how we think Clovis People produced blades is as follows: a suitable rock or cobble was found (2.7a) which led to the Clovis knapper making a blade core that could be used for the removal of as many blades as possible. The knapper created a suitable blade core by first knocking off one end of the cobble with a hammerstone (2.7b). The resultant fractured surface on the end of the cobble then became the striking platform for subsequent blade removals.
|Figure 3. a 1.9 inch long crested blade surface found |
in Logan County, Colorado. Note bifacial flaking.
John Branney Collection.
A photo of a crested blade from my collection is in Figure 3. Note the triangular shape and the bifacial flaking. The bottom of the crested blade is smooth and from its distal end to its proximal end, it has a slight bow to it.
Figure 4 - High Plains blades, showing the variety of shapes and sizes.
Blades were used to cut, scrape, gouge, drill, and slice. Longest
blade in frame is 4.3 inches long. John Branney Collection.
My biggest regret is not learning about blades earlier in my life. I wonder how many blades I walked over while artifact hunting without giving them a second glance? Getting an Answer to that question would probably give me heartburn. Oh well, what makes this passion great is learning each and every day!
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