But that was before college and receiving an education in this kind of thing. I remember from a bunch of anthropology and archaeology classes I took in college and this now seems to be just what I at first thought it was.
Something about the odd shape caught my attention. I had hesitated, then walked on, stopped, went back, figured what the hell, picked it up and looked at it. I couldn't make up my mind so I just shoved it in my back pocket to examine it more closely later when I got home and had better tools to examine it with. I quickly forgot about it. But better safe than sorry.
|Cutting/scraping edge on top under my thumb|
I used to hang at the anthro lab in college which was one big party mostly. But we were taught how to knap and make stone tools, about them and their uses, etc. It was a great group of people. Some very funny people. Several of them took Speech 101 with me. I even considered changing my major to that for a short time.
Which evokes a speech on of us gave on "The Infamous and notorious 1,000 pound Canadian beaver". A speech that had half the class confused and believing it all. A quarter of the class horrified and disturbed and the final quarter of the class (including myself and a couple of other Anthro lab students), nearly on the floor. It was a brilliant speech. Basically a comedy stand up routine. I've discussed this experience in a previous blog.
I believe this stone tool may be a tranchet, or a scraper, or a possible skinning tool. If so, in looking at other examples online, this was a nice one considering how well and comfortably it fits my hand. Also, research indicated they don't even need to be that sharp to work well. I'd even considered several possibilities such as arrowhead, or spearhead, considering potential for damage over the years in it just getting kicked around.
At first I figured it was a small stone axe head to be attached to a piece of wood. Hard to tell esp., considering wear and tear in between its original use and now. But it has dull ends, which could be useful not to puncture an animal skin when separating it from the carcass. That made me on the street think it might be a small war ax or something.
Kind of cool regardless. But how do you tell if it's just a stone, or a manufactured tool, and if it's a tool is very old or of more recent modern manufacture?
From An identification checklist:
"To distinguish between an artifact and a geofact (a flint that has been shaped by natural processes such as frost) use the following checklist. Don't pay too much attention to the overall shape or possible function (whether it would make a good borer or spear point) but ask yourself:
- Is the flint uniformly patinated?
- Is there the remains of a striking platform?
- Is there a striking point (positive bulb of percussion)?
- Have the edges been retouched?
- Is there pressure flaking on the surface?"
Okay, I don't have a proper lens for something this closeup but I used my 24x Canon prime lens and took some shots, then cleaned them up a bit, cropped and resampled to a smaller size. You can't fully see what I can when I'm holding it and unless you really know what you're looking for it just looks like a stone.
But I see knapping strike locations, polished areas from use, and at this point, esp. after reading up yesterday and reminding myself of what I once knew, I'm pretty sure it's difficult at this point for it not to be what I'm now thinking it is. Too many points of verification seem to exist. I was starting to think it was real when I started to hold it in my hand as if I was going to use it. And it fit, perfectly. As if designed to be held in that way. At that point I was pretty sold on what it was. A manufactured tool.
The question now for me is, how old is it? My old Anthro \ Archaeology professor could make good tools out of stone. But you can't really make it look like this one unless you are trying to make it look real as well as old. As in attempting to counterfeit it. Polishing it on a polisher which most modern stone tool knappers don't do. Then, for it to be polished in places would take years of a lot of use. As if it were a tool used regularly in daily life.
Also I did find it in an odd place, being next to a cemetery in some sparse gravel on a road side in town. Considering gravel is hauled in to be put on roads, the original location for centuries could be out in the middle or no where until it was dumped here in town.
At this point, I'm pretty convinced that after a life time of trying to find something like this, I finally did.
I went back to that spot and there was no gravel. About a half block away a home had some of that type of rock gravel but nothing of note. I'm beginning to wonder. Thinking for sure, I found a rock tool someone lost. Either thousands of years ago, or more recently. But in considering it was by itself, it seems odd that it would have been there by natural causes. Rather someone else found it like I did, moved it, and lost it. Or knew what it was an lost it. Or something.
thirty three new pics from today's walkabout around Bremerton.
So this is cool. My daughter's friend is an archaeologist and just came by to visit. I showed her the subject of this blog and she heartily agreed, it's exactly what I had suspected it was, an ancient stone tool.