Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spear Point

Editor's note: We will continue to publish article's from the Hatteras Dig as they become available.

by Roberta Estes

Archaeology is a surprise every day.  Some day the surprise is that you find nothing.  We call those “sterile pits”, and indeed, they are the pits.  Very disappointing.  See my blog about how archaeology is 99.9% dig, sweat and move dirt.
But the, poking it’s head out of the dirt is the entire reason you’re digging.  An artifact reveals itself.  Someone lets out a little yelp, or maybe a big yelp, and everyone comes running to see – no matter what it is.  Yelp = hurry up and look = something is happening and you’re going to get a break from digging!

Today, the gift from the earth and the ancestors is a spear point – a stunningly beautiful spear point.  Technically, it is from the Savannah River late archaic period.  What this means in more people friendly terms is that it’s about 3500 years old.  Think of that, 1500 years before the birth of Christ – a native person was chipping away at this spear point in order to find supper.  It bring us closer to him in a timeless sort of way.

This spear point was well used.  It’s entirely possible that it was used literally for many generations, passed from person to person, until someone lost it in the midden where we found it.  So in actuality, even though we’re not using it to hunt for dinner, the life of this particular spear point is not over, just on another chapter of its journey, in part, to help educate us about what the local people were doing, where, and how.

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