Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Age Of These Clovis Spear Points? 14,000 Years Or 14 Years?

Hematite Clovis Spear Point #1 sure seems to be the twin to Hematite Clovis Spear Point #2, also shown on this page.

Therein lies the rub!

They both appear to have been made by the same knapper, of the same material, at the same general time.

The question for every collector becomes: at what time in history were these two points made?

To be old or not to be old. That is the question.

As a collector of ancient, authentic points I want to know. And I am sure you do, as well.

How can we know? If not for absolute certainty, then at least with a fair degree of assurance.

As for me, unless I found these two pieces, or personally observed their discovery, I would want to have a complete “provenance” provided. That is the description of the finding activity, the name of the person who found them, and a signed statement from that person certifying the circumstances of discovery. Also, the provenance should provide an unbroken “chain of custody”; listing any and all intervening owners since the discovery.

And, even with that provenance information, I would want to obtain what is known as a “Certificate of Authenticity”; for the two pieces. This is a professional opinion from a recognized authority in the field of archaeological artifact analysis, attesting to the cultural identification of each piece, its quality and its authenticity. For more assurance, I would want to have similar opinions from several different, recognized authenticators. This would be in addition to and supplementing my own close and careful examination of the workmanship, style, process, material and evidence of age or exposure to the elements and surface depositions visible under great enlargement.

That's what I would want, before I would purchase these two alleged Clovis points, or any others, as being ancient and authentic cultural relics.

In the absence of such documentation, I would be forced to consider that these are highly likely to be excellent examples of exotic stone material being used by a highly skilled modern flint knapper to replicate or reproduce Clovis points.

Hematite is an iron ore material, relatively common in the Missouri area; and, it was knapped into very strong and long-lasting spear points, knives, axes and other tools. So, it is possible to have an ancient Clovis point made from hematite, from Missouri and that immediate area.

However, to have two such nearly identical points, of hematite, in such beautiful condition, does seem to be stretching the limits of credulity. As a result of the logical examination of the situation, I am careful to say that I think these are both modern Clovis point reproductions.

1 comment:

  1. I read the rock story, not the people story (you'll find those on paper, word-of-mouth, etc) Patina and mineralization matters. As far as authenticators go--if one needs to pay another to tell him his wife's hat is pretty, he best not be buying hats to begin with. I advocate self-education, avoidance of buying what you don't understand or know, and talking with others whom you recognize as experts in the field