|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.
|FIGURE TWO. |
Click to read about 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 other most distinctive characteristic of Folsom projectile points are the flutes or channels that start at the base of the projectile point and run up through the length of the entire projectile point. 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, they do. In fact, you can add me to that list of pet theories on how Folsom People made their projectile points.
In the first book of my TRILOGY entitled SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL, I wrote about the manufacturing process I thought the Folsom People used to make these fluted projectile points. Since there has never been any confirmation that the Folsom People had any written language, we have to assume that they passed along their way of life from generation to generation via word of mouth and hands-on experience. The scene below in blue is from SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL. In this
|FIGURE THREE. A Colorado found Folsom that |
exhibits the three attributes of Folsom projectile points;
1). thinness, 2). fine marginal retouch, and 3). flutes.
The sun rose for the first time since the decision to leave the canyon. Chayton picked up his ten spear points made from inyan wakan [Lakota Sioux words for 'sacred rocks'] and walked across the village. Chayton could see Tarca Sapa’s long white hair from half way across the village. When Chayton arrived, Tarca Sapa was busy grinding a plant into powder against a grinding stone. Tonkala, Tarca Sapa’s granddaughter, sat close to him grinding up dried chokecherries that she had gathered. She looked up at Chayton with her large green eyes and Chayton’s heart began pounding in his chest. She smiled at him and then quickly glanced down at her grinding stone. Chayton smiled and then turned to her grandfather.
|FIGURE FOUR. Unfinished Folsom |
projectile point or "preform".
|FIGURE FIVE. Striking platform to |
create flute on projectile point.
|FIGURE SIX. Rounded and beveled tip |
of projectile point.
The spear points that Chayton took to Tarca Sapa for fluting were not finished and looked somewhat like the unfinished Folsom projectile point in Figure four, a photograph of a Folsom preform projectile point certified by archaeological consultant Gregory Perino* and in my personal collection. An unknown finder found this particular Folsom preform projectile point in Mecosta County, Michigan. The material is Norwood Chert. This particular preform was almost ready for fluting. This particular prehistoric knapper had pressure flaked both faces of the preform leaving closely spaced flakes terminating near the middle of the preform or what would soon be a projectile point. The preform tip or distal end of the projectile point was rounded, beveled and had light abrasion and grinding done to it (Figure six). This aided in the fluting process. 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.