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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