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In July 2008, during a Group email discussion of copper Paleo-like points Don wrote: “Jack Steinbring recognized and named this type of copper projectile point as the McCreary. Steinbring (1968) characterized the McCreary Points as, “…utilizing a technology and material of the Great Lakes Archaic, and a style reminiscent of the Paleo- Indian lithic styles may have fused at many points with aggressive manifestations of Boreal Archaic reflected in copper.”

Don goes on to write; “The original McCreary was found by Donald Kreiser (1966) near McCreary, Western Manitoba. Other McCreary Points were found in Wisconsin and Michigan. Because of the point’s similarity in characteristics to the lithic Agate Basin (8500-7400 B.C.) and because lithic Agate Basins were found in the same general area, Steinbring described the McCreary as: “a possible generalized flint Agate Basin, hammered from native copper.”

There is still much ongoing discussion as to whether or not Agate Basin lithic points are Late Paleo, Plano, Transitional Paleo or Early Archaic. The future will resolve the issue.

In January of 2008 I happened to mention to an associate, Dan Wendt, a ‘spare-time’ avocational archaeologist from Minnesota, about my research on Paleo-like copper points to which he responded with a couple of photos of McCreary-like copper points curated by the Minnesota Historical Society. These points are in the Rev. Edward Mitchell collection, which he had acquired from T.H. Lewis. Upon application, the MHS granted me permission to use these in this article (Photo #4). The point at left was found around Lake Pepin, in Pepin County, Wisconsin, while the other point was recovered in Washington County, Wisconsin. Both are over 5” long.photo4

Doctor Spohn has also acquired, and curates, 2 Agate Basinlike (McCreary) copper points at The GLCR Group (Photo #5). In photo #5 the longer point, recovered in Wisconsin, is 5-1/4” long, while the shorter one is 3-3/4” long (no provenance).

Next we have a slightly different style of copper point (5-1/2” long), reflective of the lithic Hell Gap points, considered to be from the period 12,000 to 9,000ybp from the Mid- West, and described as: “contracting stem…the widest part of the blade is above mid-section” (Overstreet 2nd edition, INDIAN ARROWHEADS), which is reflected in this point (Photo #6). Lithic Hell Gap points are often found in association, and concurrent with lithic Agate Basin points (11,500 to 10,000ybp).

This copper point, like the McCreary, was also found on the western shore of Ancient Lake Agassiz, near Grand Forks, ND, which is only about 360 kilometers SSE of McCreary, Manitoba, home of the named McCreary point. It was acquired by Gregg, a member of our Discussion Group, in April 2008. I suggest that this point, and others like it be named the Agassiz point, reflective of its recovery location.

Steve, another Group Member, in Wisconsin Rapids, sent me a couple of photos.The first is another McCreary type copper point recovered by Rich, a friend of his (Photo #7, two views). Rich tells me that this point is 5-7/8” long, 1-3/16” wide, and 1/8” thick, no median ridges, and weighs two ounces. He recovered it on private property (with permission), in Vilas County, WI, about 100 feet from, and 10 feet above, the river.

The second photo that Steve arranged for me to receive, is a pair of points, a large lithic point along with a copper point, with similar attributes, that Steve’s friend Gary Weimer, of Wauwatosa, WI recovered in Winnebago County, WI, a year apart in an area within 2 miles of each other (Photo #8).

Gary tells me than an archaeologist advised him that this style is named the Dalton, and has been found around the Lake Winnebago region. It may be appropriate to name the 3-3/4” copper point theWinnebago point, also reflective of its area of use and recovery.

Noel D. Justice, Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of the Midcontinental and Eastern United States, in a Distribution Map on page 35, shows the Beaver Lake type of the Dalton Cluster as having been recovered as far north as the extreme SW corner ofWisconsin and a very small corner of SE Minnesota, neither area close to LakeWinnebago. Both of Gary’s points suggest more of a Dalton Classic look, which according to Justice (1987) does NOT appear that far north. He shows on page 41, the Dalton Classic as being a southeastern point reaching only as far north as mid-Iowa and Illinois. Justice notes the age and Cultural Affiliation as being around the Transitional Period between Paleo and Archaic, suggesting 10,500 to 9,900ybp. You be the judge.

In my first article I showed you a photo of a frame of lanceolate points from the Hamilton Collection, curated by the University of Wisconsin (Madison). I’ve extracted photos of four of the 24 points from that collection to show you. You will note that there are slight differences in the profiles of each of these points, although each is a McCreary-like copper point (Photo #9).

Terry, another of our Group Members, recovered a lanceolate-like blade (Photo #10) a number of years ago on Dog Lake, a site about 25 miles northwest of Lake Superior in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, that has also, archaeologically, yielded many trihedral adzes; “…40% of the artifacts recovered were adzes and gouges (McLeod, 1978:78), suggesting that the area may have had a valuable wood resource…”

Materials from all periods including the Contact, have been recovered there. However, there is discussion amongst professionals, as well as we avocationals, as to whether or not the trihedral adze is Plano, or Early Archaic, or both. Some of the comments from one of five reports by McLeod (1976-1981), THE EARLY PREHISTORY OF THE DOG LAKE AREA (1981, p27), discusses the similarity of materials on this site, as being comparable to the Caribou Lake Complex, East Central Manitoba, (Steinbring, J. and Buchner, AP., 1980)…suggested dates of 7500 to 6500ybp, are worth repeating here: “…projectile points that are a crude version of Plano…broad range of large biface variations, and the trihedral adze.” McLeod goes on to say: “….it appears that a complex exists at Dog Lake related to the Caribou Lake Complex and shares similarities with the Reservoir Lakes area”. Larry, another of our Discussion Group Members in Minnesota, and his brothers, have recovered numerous trihedral adzes, as well as many Paleo-like points in the Reservoir Lakes area of Northern Minnesota, over the years.

In a personal communication with archaeologists Steve Mullholland, (Duluth Archaeology Center, L.L.C., Duluth, MN) he advises me that at the Misiano Site (unpublished at this time), in Northern Minnesota, a trihedral adze and gouge chipping site, is adjacent to an apparent dugout canoe building site, where trihedral adzes and gouges are Photo 11 Photo 12 found in a level at, and below, the Archaic level. All very indicative of a Late Paleo age for the trihedral adze, extending into the Early Archaic.

Terry’s lanceolate-like blade is 3” long x 1” wide x 1/8” thick at mid-blade, and closely resembles the McCreary points, although Terry himself sees it as a side scraper from the Archaic Period. It is very similar to Gregg’s first lanceolate-like point I discussed in my second article. Here’s a comparison of the two blades (Photo #11).

Steve also advised me of another McCreary-like point that was found by Jim, a friend of Doug’s. I asked Doug about this and he acquired a photo and permission from Jim. It is a very nice example of a McCreary Point recovered in Ionia County, MI (Photo #12). This McCreary point measures about 5-3/4” long by about 1-1/2” wide, and perhaps 3/16” thick.

Although rare, there are a few ancient copper lanceolate-like points, being recovered (mostly the McCreary style), but unfortunately none from a dateable context. This suggests to me that copper use was in its infancy in the Late Paleo, and that possibly the population was quite small in comparison to the later Archaic.

Reading in WONDERFUL POWER (Susan R. Martin), in Chapter six, the question “How Old Is It?” appears as a heading and discusses various known Archaeological sites, from which I quote as follows:

“Many researchers have noticed a distinct overlap of marker artifacts from different cultural stages at many sites throughout the western Lake Superior basin (Buckmaster and Paquette 1988; Clark 1989; Salzer 1974; Steinbring 1974.:”, and; “Buckmaster and Paquette (1988) and Clark (1989) analyzed 22 artifact clusters of likely Late Paleoindian and more recent ages from the south shore of the Lake Superior basin in Marquette County Michigan. Some included copper, which demon- strated an equivocal association of copper with the better-known and better-evidenced lithic industries and technologies prac- ticed in Late Paleoindian times.”

And finally; “Some researchers suggested that Late Paleoindian hunters occupied the southerly glacial/copper drift area, learned to manipulate the copper material, and essentially replicated traditional lithic projectile point forms in copper…McCreary points occurred over a road geographical area from southern Michigan to Saskatchewan (Steinbring 1991:27).”

As early as 1894, Cushing, Frank H. (1894: 93-117 in AmericanAnthropologist), suggested that copper technology trans- ferred logically from stone working (Martin: WonderfulPower, p.117), and wrote: “It is safe to assume, as a general proposition, that no new art was ever practiced by Aboriginal Americans as strictly new..” and further commented on by Jack Steinbring (in note 1), “the prehistoric copper industries of central North America adopted formal attributes in tool shape from earlier Paleo lithic industries” (Martin: p.225)

Martin then summarizes: “The seventh millennium western Lake Superior sites were the homes of the earliest copper users on the continent. It is likely that they quickly incorporated raw copper from riverine and streambed drift deposits into their com- plex of useable material resources.”

It is imperative that those of us recovering these types of copper points, and in fact all copper artifacts, especially when found in conjunction with lithics, carefully observe and record the context within which it is resting, and recover, preserve, and record, any dateable materials which may have been preserved by the copper. We owe it to those coming after us to secure that which we hold so dear.

Article provided by: MAY 2010 INDIAN ARTIFACT MAGAZINE 67