Info about utilitarian artifacts

Jatrox

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Jan 22, 2024
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I’m curious as to everyone’s opinion on the more utilitarian artifacts. Personally, I find them more interesting than all the points and blades. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the points and blades, but it seems to me that the everyday tools like fire starters, abraders, boiling stones, grinding stones etc., add a whole different level of humanity to the relic. I have seen very few of these items, even in museum collections they seem to be rare. Are they not as interesting to others, overlooked at sites, or just that rare of a find? I’d like to know your thoughts and see pics of your utilitarian artifacts if you have any.
 

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pickaway

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hamm4.jpeg
ham1.jpeg
hamm5.jpeg
Here are 3 more types of hardstone hammerstones,I find, larger round one with a divot on
hamm3.jpeg
each side center, its the one with the small stone setting on it, a smaller round one which kinda looks like a bisquit discoidal wish it was, and a round ball type, the latter 2 were found on Adena and Hopewell sites, the large round one was found in a field with mostly archaic flint artifacts.
hamm2.jpeg
 

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Jatrox

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Jan 22, 2024
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How do you know how to tell a hammer stone from just a nice round rock? I ask because if I saw that hammer stone on the ground, I'd probably not realize it was an artifact of any kind. What are the things to look for?
One sure way is like the examples pictured, they have evidence of pecking chips on the used surface like dognose, pickaway and my pics. It takes time and experience to see it by itself. Had I seen my hammer stone lying by itself as it was, pecking chips under the dirt, the way I found it, I would have walked right past it but I had already found other artifacts so it got my attention. If you find other artifacts in the same area it's best to look at every rock in the vicinity and if that happens, I will collect it to study / rule it out if need be. For instance, the campsite I found is close to a very large village site and was a workshop with debitage, cores, bones, grinding stones, etc... in that case, when something else is definitely present, you can bet that it is in some way connected to First Nation. Not everything is a perfect specimen, completed or used up. And in most states, there is a historical society with an archeologist and/or anthropologist that is willing to look at it to give you an answer to any questions you might have on artifacts.
 

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Jatrox

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Jan 22, 2024
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Kansas
View attachment 2128850 View attachment 2128852 View attachment 2128854 Here are 3 more types of hardstone hammerstones,I find, larger round one with a divot on View attachment 2128853 each side center, its the one with the small stone setting on it, a smaller round one which kinda looks like a bisquit discoidal wish it was, and a round ball type, the latter 2 were found on Adena and Hopewell sites, the large round one was found in a field with mostly archaic flint artifacts. View attachment 2128847
That is some amazing stuff! Thank you for sharing this. And Hopewell/Adena too. Was that all found at the same time? In the same area?
 

pickaway

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That is some amazing stuff! Thank you for sharing this. And Hopewell/Adena too. Was that all found at the same time? In the same area?
the round ball and the round knives are from same spot, not at same time I worked that site for years, its now gone my buddy sold land, the bisquit shaped one is from a hopewell site in another county i think i have 4 of that type from there, and the large round one with divots was a field in another different county. ive only found 2 of that type both in fields,I agree with your statement about checking every rock if in a field and theres habitation I flip out hardstone rocks constantly been a many times flip out a celt hammer etc, I really like tools also i'll post some more soon
 

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Jatrox

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Jan 22, 2024
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the round ball and the round knives are from same spot, not at same time I worked that site for years, its now gone my buddy sold land, the bisquit shaped one is from a hopewell site in another county i think i have 4 of that type from there, and the large round one with divots was a field in another different county. ive only found 2 of that type both in fields,I agree with your statement about checking every rock if in a field and theres habitation I flip out hardstone rocks constantly been a many times flip out a celt hammer etc, I really like tools also i'll post some more soon
Thanx. I'm very interested to see them. Sounds (looks) like you have a nice collection. It's getting hard enough to find land to hunt anymore so it sucks to loose it, sorry to hear that.
 

Red-Coat

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Not Native American but this Neolithic hammerstone out of my collection is from Normandy in France:

Neolithic Hammerstone.jpg


Obviously heavily used and it has a vug lined with quartz crystals. I often wonder is this revealed itself during use or if the stone had been specifically selected because it had that feature. A bit of Stone Age one-upmanship?
 

ToddsPoint

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The hammer stones we find in central IL are nearly always made from a very hard and tough quart/chert like material. They are very common on many sites. After much use they take on a round shape. When they are first found in the glacial till they have more sharper protrusions that are very efficient. The points get worked down and it ends up ball shaped and is less efficient for pecking hardstone as in celt or axe making.
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IMG_3434.jpeg
 

CreekSide

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The hammer stones we find in central IL are nearly always made from a very hard and tough quart/chert like material. They are very common on many sites. After much use they take on a round shape. When they are first found in the glacial till they have more sharper protrusions that are very efficient. The points get worked down and it ends up ball shaped and is less efficient for pecking hardstone as in celt or axe making. View attachment 2129150 View attachment 2129151
So if I find a round cobble that doesn’t have much cortex it is most likely natural? I found one yesterday but didn’t keep it cause not much cortex was missing. I don’t normally find round heavy quartzite cobbles.
 

ToddsPoint

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Not Native American but this Neolithic hammerstone out of my collection is from Normandy in France:

View attachment 2128922

Obviously heavily used and it has a vug lined with quartz crystals. I often wonder is this revealed itself during use or if the stone had been specifically selected because it had that feature. A bit of Stone Age one-upmanship?
Congrats Red-Coat for achieving gold member status. I’m right behind you!
 

magua

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Sep 18, 2022
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How do you know how to tell a hammer stone from just a nice round rock? I ask because if I saw that hammer stone on the ground, I'd probably not realize it was an artifact of any kind. What are the things to look for?
I like your question because it is so genuine and real. Many people don’t ask these questions because they are afraid it makes them a noob but reality shows that many experienced folks often struggle with this at times.

Here’s one clue: context and surroundings
Where did you find it? What was surrounding it? Was the area that you located the potential Hammerstone a Native American area? did you find it randomly in a field where it looked completely out of place? Or did you find it lying on a road and it looked roughed up and you thought, is that a hammer stone? Context means so much when you’re looking at this type of artifact.

I spent the past two weeks touring Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Belize. Some old areas, and some new areas that are still being excavated or found. We were amazed at how little Debitage was noted in areas that we expected to see tons of it. but surprisingly, we were not initially seeing a great deal of evidence. Even in the areas that were used as quarrys to obtain the granite for the various buildings, there was very little debris. Those same areas were often filled with water, coated/painted, and used as water storage and Wells. We began to think that the Mayans were pretty damn good housekeepers. But then, on the very outskirts of all of the ruins, temples, living areas, etc. over the far hillsides. We started finding all kinds of artifacts, flakes, flint, Chert, and… hammerstones everywhere. Everywhere. Broken and abused. Literally tripping over hammerstones. Let’s face it, those ruins didn’t build themselves, and they took a lot of hard work. we were overjoyed to find all of the hammer stones finally.

So if you find an area that was common native American Indians. Say an area that has a great deal of Flint or other material that was commonly used by tribes. Near rock shelters where they worked on items that they would need for day-to-day life. You just watch these areas closely and see what you can find. If you find something that resembles, or remind you that it might be a hammer stone and it fits in with the surroundings, then you might be on something. Once you start to find some of these items And get a good view at them and how they appear, it sure helps you find an identify them another area.
 

robertk

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Thanks, @magua ! I've never found a hammer stone -- that I know of -- but I have several areas I've found plenty of points, broken points, and random bits of flint before. I shall pay more attention to the "ordinary" rocks in those areas.
 

CreekSide

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Thanks, @magua ! I've never found a hammer stone -- that I know of -- but I have several areas I've found plenty of points, broken points, and random bits of flint before. I shall pay more attention to the "ordinary" rocks in those areas.
Most I’ve found will have divots on each side for grip. Some divots aren’t deep others are very noticeable.
 

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