Jim Fisher's Artifact Collecting
& Flintknapping
Web Site

    We started at the farthest corner of the field and I was immediately impressed with the quantity of material that I could see was exposed by the recent rain showers. I told Dan that given these conditions we should each come up with at least one find on the very first pass. The habitation area on this part of the site appears to be just over an acre. We knew exactly when we were in the zone as the frequency of Onondaga chips seemed to steadily increase and then quickly tailed off at the perimeter.
    As we began to walk we toiled over a portion of the site that is heavily covered with large pieces of shale. To my surprise Dan reached down and came up with a great find. It has not been my experience to find much of anything in this area but he managed to pick up the poll end of a beveled adze

dating on the Lamoka Lake type-component in Schuyler County placed these artifacts at approximately  4400 - 5400 years B.P. (Ritchie, 1980).
    As Dan and I systematically worked our way across that first knoll other artifacts were claimed. It wasn't long before we had both found at least a couple of broken projectile point tips or bases. Dan found the better part of what is likely a small knife. The find was unique in that it sported some striking red colored patches that are atypical for Onondaga Chert. We briefly discussed the matter and agreed that it was likely the result of exposure to heat. Shortly thereafter Dan picked up his first whole point of the day, a 1 1/2" Lamoka made of Onondaga that aside from its lighter gray color was the matching counterpart to the first find I had made. 
    Having been greeted with such success on that first knoll we decided to venture off and explore some previously unsearched portions of the large site before returning to the the known hot spots. We headed south toward a slight  but noticeable rise. As we approached the incline we immediately began to find debitage. In all the years I had hunted this particular field I had not explored this barely noticeable rise. The diversion was rewarded by yet another Lamoka point tip find for me.  We quickly traversed the area, picked up a couple of sparse finds, took some photographs, and decided that our time was better invested elsewhere.   
    The lower section of the site is comprised of a sandy flat that drains very quickly. It is also much closer to the fresh water springs that are located beneath the Cedar trees that grow in the distance. It is easy to see why the Archaic hunters would have chosen this area for an encampment. Even though the area had been subject to recent rain, the sandy soil was considerably lighter than surrounding areas due to its unwillingness to retain moisture. The lower flat was dry despite its location at the base of one of the larger knolls and its proximity to the spring.
    This area of the field was one that my brother Jody and I have searched

intensively for over 20 years. It consistently yields significantly more artifacts than any other part of the site. Ironically, I had used up nearly all of my film on the finds Dan and I had made earlier in the day on the overlooking knolls.
    On our way down the slope that preceded the bottomland, I commented to Dan that if our previous success was any indication of what was likely to come, we should have no problem finding an additional ten artifacts. Dan replied "That good, huh?" I confidently reaffirmed my prediction. I also commented that I was really hoping to find a highly prized and rare beveled adze. It had been a long time since this site had given up a finely crafted ground stone implement and if it were to happen today it was most likely to do so during our search of the sandy flat.

The bit end of a beveled adze (top l.), poll end of a beveled adze (top r.), a granite hammerstone (bottom l.), and a pitted stone (bottom r.)