Type:  St Charles Point

Location: Indiana



MoST ID: 2663

Pedestal Link: https://une.pedestal3d.com/r/ilSsnjKP8u

Model Author:  Emma Watt

This St Charles point from Indiana is made from Wyandotte chert.  Thebes points date to the Early Archaic period and were used between ca. 8000-10,000 BP.

The blade edges on St Charles points were sometimes resharpened by non-invasive pressure flaking, mostly conducted unifacially.  The unifacial resharpening was done to the opposite faces on the two edges and, through attrition, the biface developed a twisted, propeller-like cross section.  This technique is called ‘bevelling’.  The beveled faces  almost always occur on the left site of the point (with the proximal end oriented down).  The bevelling technique was used across a number of point styles in the Early Archaic period in eastern North America.  It appears to have first emerged during the Dalton phase.  Bevelled points were probably used as hafted knives in most cases.  The bevelling on this model is exceptionally exaggerated, and the propeller cross section can be seen by rotating the model and viewing it from the tip.  The point was heavily resharpened.

The profound cultural and subsistence changes from the Paleoindian to the Early Archaic in North America was matched by a dramatic shift in the stone technology.  The fluted lanceolate points of the Paleoindian period, such as Clovis, transitioned to exotically-fluted types such as Cumberland points in southeastern North America, and Folsom on the Great Plains.  Eventually fluting was abandoned for less dramatic basal thinning, like that seen on Dalton points, and, eventually, lanceolate points were supplemented or replaced by an explosion of notched point styles in the Early Archaic period, after about 10,000 BP.  The earliest notched points in the Early Archaic are side-notched (e.g., Graham Cave, Big Sandy, Hardaway, Bolen), followed by corner-notched points (e.g., Kirk, Palmer, Lost Lake), with ‘bifurcated’ points (corner-notched or stemmed points with a notched base, like LeCroy, Kanawha, MacCorkle, and St Albans) emerging towards the end of the Early Archaic period.  Side-notched (e.g., Thebes, St Charles), basal-notched (e.g., Calf Creek), and stemmed (e.g., Hardin, Kirk Stemmed) point variants co-occurred with corner-notched points in complex patterns through most of the Early Archaic period, reflecting considerable regional and chronological diversity in point styles, driven by population growth and intensified trends towards differing cultural expression in circumscribed regions.  These point styles—all of them manufactured by bifacial flaking—functioned variously as dart points and hafted knives.

The Thebes point family includes the St Charles, Lost Lake, and Calf Creek varieties.  St Charles points were made by skilled bifacial percussion thinning followed by indirect percussion notching using a punch.  The notch flake scars are often quite broad and pronounced, but the notches are usually relatively narrow and deep.  The bases are usually heavily ground and sometimes polished, presumably to prevent the handle binding from being cut by the basal edge.  The shape of the bases on St Charles points varied considerably; some resembled the fanned-out tail-feathers of a dove in flight, and hence certain St Charles points are colloquially referred to as ‘dovetail’ points.