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Here's the pics to follow though with the discussions of the finds in W Tx.
These are the two scribed rocks found north of Austin ( the third one is on the frt pg location I gave you )
With indirect lighting to better show lines. As we noted on Your finds...the lines are NOT random but very meticulously kept parallel.
And here's your find again for comparision.
There's 300 miles between these finds. Same people and use ?? or just a coincidence ?
Next topic, "clunky" preforms
Here's my largest ones
And here's the whole group that I kept separate as they all have a definite shape ( vs simple cores )
And how to display such weighty specimens....
One possibility is a wall display like a flat section of tree limb. The good version would be with polished brass, "fingers" brazed on to hold the
leaves ( preform ).
Naturally one would have to have a wall space about the size of a small museum gallery !
What would you figure the age would be on all three scribed stones? Relative dating that is. I'd think the general thought process would be the same as to grooving the parralell lines regardless of any affiliation between peoples. Interesting concept as to their true meaning, calendar stone, hunting records, or the next doctors appointment to the local shaman.
Pretty neat story, one could speculate quite a while. I don't think the miles would be to many for nomadic people.Even when you have done it for years you still see something new...at least for me I have not seen this before on that type of stone.
See the 3rd edition of Stone Artifacts of Texas Indians, 2011 (pp. 276-278).
These are arrow shaft straightners, found from California, across the SW, and
into central and western Texas. The stones were heated, cane arrow shafts were
bent and straightened on the heated rock, with the incised lines serving as a friction point. Some of the Texas specimens (and others) have a deep
groove, along with the lines. Most specimens found are fragments, usually
broken in half, due to repeated heating and cooling.
In all the years that I've stomped around So.Tx brush, I never found one and it wasn't because I wasn't looking. I'd have thought that since the area was so rich in sandstone, that'd be prime material for shaft straightners. Mabbe because of the softer qualities of sandstone, those grooves just didn't last long. Erosion would have erased them.
Ken: The shaft straighteners are in south Texas. One big grooved sandstone
example came from the Catarina Ranch near the Rio Grande (published in the 1980s).. I've seen the incised-lines only specimens in other collections, as well...mostly made of sandstone, but some of limestone.
These things are hard to find, for obvious reasons. They break from heating/re-heating, and over time, the incised side may be rolled over by
erosion, etc., and you'd never see it.
Sort of like a painted pebble I found on the Nueces in Zavala County...going down a terrace, following a cattle trail,and one bovine had kindly (and recently) kicked over a river cobble -- with painted designs on one side (publ. BTAS 1977).JUN3 A number of others have since been found in northern Zavala County.
Thanks Tom. I've heard of other locals around that had found them but it was never my luck to. We're in new terrain up here in Montana and have already been invited out to the buffalo jumps and teepee rings. New stuff to learn. Not giving up on the chance one day to hunt some more in my old stomping grounds, still have permission on several ranches there.
Thank you for the clarification,and information associated with it.It's always nice to have a professionals input!
Been years since I checked books on the etched stones, I should have tried again after Boyds' find brought them up again...but then we would not have had that personal professional input. Tks Doc.
The descriptive wording in Dr H's latest edition is even more detailed than the first Stones book....very positive.
I now find that I have 2 examples that closely match Dr H's exact wording....
The one on the L is limestone, heavily heat discolored...AND...the entire back is cracked off, missing.
The one on the R is sandstone, no damage.
And still with the book, both were found in general "washdown" conditions so no date level with accompanying points was possible.
The Sandstone was found at the lower Midden at Starr ranch that had Marcos to Martindale markers. One and a half miles from the Gault site.
Hal, Great Post & replies to it, I will definately be watching more closely for the "scribbed rocks" on my next search at the Juno site.....John F.
Hal please e-mail me would like to keep in contact. The reason I got into amateur archeology was to try and understand and learn just what a people were thinking and doing in a huge nearly empty continent for 20,000 years give or take a little. I like to come up with conjectures of what a person was doing with a tool or artifact that I find, what that shape, that particular rock, that knap characteristic was intended to do was it out of necessity or habit, ritual, and questions like why did you throw it away in perfect condition, did you lose it, do you think it was as beautiful a piece of art as I do, or why is this so crude couldn’t you have done better, why didn’t you have the time to make it sharper, or what the heck did you use this thing for, etc .? Just what were they thinking when they put that twist in a Pandale? Why do it for 4 thousand years was it better than concurrent point types or did it define a social cultural boundary? Why not build yourself a rock house and settle down in Gault, Texas? Why no pottery? Here is a thought or two I have on these incised artifacts this is only from my limited experience and observation. If I do more research I may come to a completely different hypothesis indeed I do proffer another answer in the end . When we surface hunted as a kid in central New Mexico we would find incised, scribed, etched rocks or however you want to describe them, some were hematitic and limonitic rocks, and some were dark igneous rocks hydrothermally stained basalts probably from the intrusion of the Railroad Mountain dike in Chaves county. I also remember finding a couple soapstone pieces with these same incised lines a couple were pendants. I don’t remember how many incisions we counted on the 12 or so stones we picked up but on one soapstone ellipse shaped pendant about 67mm X 33mm and about 5mm thick there were 7 incisions cross hatched across the presentation side of the flat 7X7 linear cross hatched scores. You could see where the maker had intentionally deeply marked the stone 7 times on one side almost making a saw edge and carried the incisions across the flat face of the piece. That determined deeper cut is what made me count the number of incisions. The other artifacts we found were all incised with about the same depth, distance and amount of separation if of a similar size or were proportional to the artifacts size. Why did they usually mark them with around the same number 7-9 there were no rocks with 20 marks or only say 2 they were around 7 or 9. The hematite ones back then I thought were to used to get the color out of the rock and were shaped into rough rectangular configurations so may have been worn in some manner also. Included in our finds were a couple incised limestone rocks and very soft limonite pieces. All were in the desert country none in the pit houses or pueblos to the west. From what I see here and what I observed these didn’t seem to be used as sharpening or dulling working utility tools. They seem to be used more as a counter or indicator of something. Since they are found composed of several different rock types and most of the ones I have seen show no heavy wear past the initial incision contact and the rock types having various hardnesses one would wonder if these were a tool why don’t you find them all made of a hard stone like quartzite instead of very soft dolomites, limestones etc. I may be way off in my thinking the one SH has in his hands I can not tell the rock type but it looks like it may have functioned in some kind of a tool capacity, I would think that the harder stones were more apt to be tools…. oops there goes my theory. Just now thought of another use for these other than a counter or indicator perhaps to cut twine perfectly perpendicular but why usually stop at 7-9 lines why not 50? 4BOYD
Thats a lot of interesting observations Boyd, thanks for the interest.
Researching and trying to understand ancient artifacts is of high interest to many collectors ( usually excluding the Ebay form of collecting )..
These stones in the limelight are a good example....A good example of such a small item raising more deep questions.
If we accept Dr H's explanation of their use...then the secondary questions might be:
- How did such a similar tool find it's way from the West Coast to Central TX ??
- The same people ? A simple but effective piece of technology finding its way between different tribes. ?
- Here's my pet peeve against passing on or copying technology...I cant understand why the Kerrville Knives have such an extremely limited oval range in the lower hill country of TX.. They should have been the first Snap On tool of it's age and yet it went nowhere.
- What might the true range of this type of fire rock tool be?
Nuff for now, gotta leave room for other observers