[SOLVED] Please help identify this obsidian artifact!
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  1. #1
    us
    coin collector and detectorist

    Jun 2018
    California
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    Please help identify this obsidian artifact!

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    My uncle found this conically shaped obsidian core while gardening in his backyard in Rancho Palos Verdes California. (L.A. county) near the coast. He had no idea what it was. the area where he unearthed it was at the bottom of a steep slope. He said that he has found other flakes of obsidian in the soil.

    I think it is a core that was used for knapping straight, uniform flakes. It fits the description because it has a well defined flat base - a perfect platform for flaking long blades.

    From my knowledge (which is limited) obsidian isn't naturally occurring in California. Which narrows it down to two possibilities. either it was left over by a flintknapping hobbyist, or it is an artifact that was brought in from far away in ancient times.

    If there are any flintknapping experts out there, I would be grateful to hear your ideas!!!
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  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    Jul 2006
    Florida
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    NICE! It looks like a core that knock flakes off of to work, I have several but NONE are obsidian. I am moving this thread to our Indian Artifact forum for more expert opinions.

    Welcome to TreasureNet too!
    arrow86 and lucas1889 like this.
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  3. #3
    us
    the boss

    Mar 2008
    south dakota
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    Very nice example!!!
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  4. #4

    Aug 2014
    California
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    There are lots of places in California where obsidian occurs. This has the look of silver sheen obsidian that could have come from California or even from Mexico.
    Not around L.A. area, however.

    This is a blade core, and has all the appearances of being modern made.
    The thing to look for would be to examine the other types of flakes and knapping discards being found.
    My guess is that you will notice a variety of rock that doesn't occur in the area and has been transported in from a variety of sources for the use of modern knapping.
    lucas1889 and A2coins like this.
    I'm beginning to realize I've gone through life without knowing what anything is ...

  5. #5
    Charter Member
    us
    Tommy

    Dec 2015
    Ann Arbor
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    Honorable Mentions (2)
    very obsidious cool find
    lucas1889 likes this.

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  6. #6
    us
    Mar 2018
    Todds Point, IL
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    Why would a modern knapper produce a bunch of core struck blades? No reason I can think of, other than to make a neat polyhedral core. Since he didn't take the core, I vote Indian core. Gary

  7. #7
    us
    the boss

    Mar 2008
    south dakota
    good eyes
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddsPoint View Post
    Why would a modern knapper produce a bunch of core struck blades? No reason I can think of, other than to make a neat polyhedral core. Since he didn't take the core, I vote Indian core. Gary
    Amen!
    lucas1889 likes this.

  8. #8
    us
    coin collector and detectorist

    Jun 2018
    California
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    thanks ToddsPoint. I agree. another sign is the fact that the core is very short, and probably over - worked to the height it is now to utilize as much of the stone as possible. (may be a sign of depletion of knappable rock) you would think that a modern knapper would have better access to knappable rock, and would have moved on to a new core when his got shorter

  9. #9
    us
    coin collector and detectorist

    Jun 2018
    California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plug N Play View Post
    There are lots of places in California where obsidian occurs. This has the look of silver sheen obsidian that could have come from California or even from Mexico.
    Not around L.A. area, however.

    This is a blade core, and has all the appearances of being modern made.
    The thing to look for would be to examine the other types of flakes and knapping discards being found.
    My guess is that you will notice a variety of rock that doesn't occur in the area and has been transported in from a variety of sources for the use of modern knapping.
    Thanks for the input "Plug N Play"!
    Yeah.. I think I recall my uncle saying that he found flakes, but don't know what he did with them. I do have doubts that it is ancient, but we are hoping that it is in-fact an artifact. Because that would be awesome.

  10. #10
    us
    Oct 2011
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    Beach and Shallow Water Hunting
    why do you doubt? that would be helpful

  11. #11

    Oct 2016
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    Super cool display/conversation piece. Have you tried to shine a flashlight through it? I'd be curious to know if it's translucent at that thickness.

  12. #12
    us
    Jun 2009
    Florida & Hong Kong
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    2482 times
    Cool core, I have found dozens and dozens like yours over the years.

    In your pictures you can see an “onion skin” patina that is absolutely correct for old obsidian. It can be faked, but not likely to be faked. It’s similar to the haze that old glass bottles get.

    Is it from LA County originally? It’s not typical of the cores I’ve seen in California (biface cores more than conical), but it could be. That style was much more common in Mexico and Central America. The big site of Teotihuacan in Central Mexico was so powerful because they controlled the obsidian mines and bladelet production by mass producing and trading bladelets off cores like that.

    Here are a few of mine.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13
    us
    coin collector and detectorist

    Jun 2018
    California
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    wow thats quite a collection!

    Interesting.. it didn't occur to me to think of the patina. would be a good indicator of age.

    And yes, it is from LA county originally. It was unearthed accidentally in my uncles backyard.

    If this is more common in Mexico and central america, is it possible that the entire core was shipped via trade from a foreign obsidian mine?

  14. #14
    Charter Member
    us
    Apr 2017
    Fontana, California
    NA
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    There are massive amounts of high grade obsidian from California Google it.
    Last edited by Mine Shaft; Jul 11, 2018 at 01:12 PM.
    T.C. and lucas1889 like this.

  15. #15

    May 2012
    Kalamity Falls, Orygun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mine Shaft View Post
    There are massive amounts of high grade obsidian from California Google it.
    Glass Mountain, just south of the Lava Beds Park has an abundance of obsidian.
    lucas1889 and Mine Shaft like this.

 

 
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