Projectile Points - Gainey Type 004.99.1127 and Crowfield Type 004.99.1126
Painstakingly chipped by highly skilled craftsman around 13,000 years ago, this complete fluted projectile point represents both the pinnacle of the flintknapper's art and the most essential of all items in the toolkit of the ice age hunter. Although obscured by a patina of grime from decades of handling and neglect, the white toolstone was quarried from outcrops of Fossil Hill Formation chert near Collingwood. Chert—best known as the variety called flint—is harder than steel but brittle so it can be chipped like glass into useful shapes with extremely sharp cutting edges. The second specimen is made of Onondaga Formation chert, a toolstone that outcrops extensively in the Niagara Region and beyond. It is several centuries younger than the first specimen as indicated by the flaring sides and double fluting. The tip has been damaged.
Fluted points are stylistically unique to the earliest inhabitants of the Great Lakes area and their contemporaries in the Americas. The skill required to remove longitudinal flakes, running tipward from the base of both faces, demonstrates extraordinary control of the material. While the flute was almost certainly designed to facilitate hafting on the short wooden foreshaft of a dart—a light spear with fletching—launched with the aid of an atlatl (spear thrower), later styles employ different hafting methods. Armed with several stone-tipped foreshafts and socketed darts to hold and propel them, a team of hunters could bring down a variety of animals large and small. Living in an environment at the end of the Pleistocene similar to northern Canada today, caribou was likely a plentiful and popular prey. However, blood residue, analysed from a stone tool recovered at a campsite on the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton, demonstrated that extinct elephants—woolly mammoth or mastodon—were on the menu, too!
References: Mt. Albion West site report
[ Back to First Footprints ]