This metavolcanic end scraper from North Carolina dates to the Late Paleoindian Period, Dalton Complex, ca. 9900-10,500 BP. The point is from the Hardaway Site (31St4), Stanly County, North Carolina.
The artefact is described as an ‘end scraper’ because the distal end of the flake was unifacially retouched to form a curved edge. Use-wear studies have shown that retouched flakes with this morphology were often used for hide scraping, hence the functional label. However, these tools may have also been used for other tasks, and were not necessarily used for processing hides. The artefact in this model shows careful unifacial percussion retouch on the distal end, and the regularity of the flake scars suggest that this was accomplished by pressure flaking. Based on the tool’s shape, it was likely resharpened many times prior to discard. In contrast, the edges and proximal end of the flake show much more coarse unifacial flaking accomplished by a percussion technique. This shaping may have been to prepare the tool for mounting in a handle. The orange patch on the dorsal surface is the original surface of the stone, referred to as ‘cortex’. End scrapers like this are relatively common in North American stone tool assemblages, and the tools were used into the historic period for processing hides by people on the Great Plains and the Arctic. Stone end scrapers are still preferred for hide scraping among the Goma people of Ethiopia, Africa.
This artefact is illustrated in Coe, Joffre L., 1964. The Formative Cultures of the Carolina Piedmont. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 54(5): Figure 64.
The artefact is curated in the North Carolina Archaeological Collection, Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, catalog no. 1010a6.
The archaeologist Joffre Coe—the ‘Father of North Carolina Archaeology’— described the early prehistory of the southeastern United States in his book, The Formative Cultures of the Carolina Piedmont. The book is based on excavations carried out in the 1930s and 1940s, and was published in 1964. The focus of the research was to develop chronologically-relevant pottery and stone tool typologies, and Coe’s work is still the defining work for the region and remains in use by archaeologists today. This end scraper was excavated from the Hardaway Site (site 31St4), at the bottom of the stratified sequence, with what is now referred to as Dalton Complex stone tools. The Dalton Complex arose during the subsistence and technological transition that occurred from the Paleoindian period to the Early Archaic period. Many archaeologists consider the Dalton Complex as ‘Late Paleoindian’ in character.