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Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 24, 2013 - 11:21pm PT
Arrowhead points that is.

I've had a recent streak of good luck last week out in my own back yard finding two nice points just a few days apart (one near perfect) while I was taking a break from bouldering. Sitting right there in the earth between my feet they were. They make the 5th and 6th arrowheads I've found out there (Vacaville hills) in the past 5 or 6 years. Averaging one a year, not bad...

I've found several others over the years in other spots but I'm particularly fond of the ones I've collected in my own backyard. They typically carry a nice serration on most. I have some better examples of the serration on a few really nice point I've found some years back, but unfortunately not with me at the moment. You can kinda see the serrated edge on one side of the 3rd point form the left. The other side looks to have suffered an overshot when someone tried to re-touch (sharpen by pressure flaking) the edge.



Biface and arrowheads.
Biface and arrowheads.
Credit: Salamanizer


The big one on top I always thought was a Clovis style spear point, but I now know it's actually whats known as a bi-face. This is what would have been flaked out at the source and carried away for trade to be made into a point by someone else when needed. I found it stuffed in a crack in one of the basalt boulders. Probably placed there near a camp along a hunting path just in case. Pretty cool to find while cleaning a foothold.

This next point was found kinda out in the grass along a creek bed. Stirred up by the cows clawing their way up the embankment. Pretty lucky it didn't get broken and luckier still to actually find it. It's absolutely flawless, still sharp even. It must have been dropped and lost. No way it was shot and survived being so long (about 3in) and thin. The most interesting thing about it is that it's slightly grey in colour and has light bands through it. Not Owens Valley obsidian for sure. I've been told it's not obsidian at all but actually Dacite which is similar, but has slightly different properties than true obsidian. Not sure where it could have come from but I believe the closest source of Dacite is in northern Oregon.


Credit: Salamanizer


I love finding this stuff. Remnants of the true stewards of the earth.

Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 24, 2013 - 11:30pm PT
Wow. Cool stuff to find in your backyard. I could hike for days and still be stoked to find arrowheads like those.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Jun 25, 2013 - 05:08am PT
Very cool, if they could only talk.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Jun 25, 2013 - 05:30am PT
sal you have weigh better footwork
and archeological skills than i.

i only find discarded and heavily crusted
white-man's toilet paper,
and an occasional used condom.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 25, 2013 - 06:44am PT
Beautiful......great finds!
Banquo

climber
Amerricka
Jun 25, 2013 - 06:51am PT
I found a nice point along Illilouette Creek last year. I tossed it into the bushes where it can't be seen. This way I will always know where it is.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jun 25, 2013 - 06:53am PT
A gift to the Taco....

I camped in a high mountain meadow with two dear friends of mine, Brutus and Nurse Ratchet. We were there to climb a mountain spire and that's in fact what we did.

In our little camp we found an ancient tatter of webbing, on a lower pitch of our FA we found a bolt. Fred Beckey? Warren Harding? Quien Sabe? The place has no formal documentation, we could find no reference ANYWHERE to the place, to the spire, to the climb.

We haven't found one bit more about the place since either.

Before us ranchers frequented the meadow. The petrified cow paddies attested to that. Before them? Basque sheepherders, the elaborate carvings in the aspen groves on the approach attested to that?

Before them? Paiute. Shoshonie. Others. How do we know this?

Idling in camp one day Brutus roamed around, inquisitive as is his endlessly restless nature. I paid him no mind, instead focusing on nursing the burning red coal in my pipe bowl.

After a bit Brutus walked up to me with a twinkle in his eye, hand outstretched. Therein were shards of obsidian arrowheads, several of them.

"Found em in just 20 minutes," he announced with satisfaction and pleasure. They were things of beauty!

Black glass.... isn't available in those parts. The nearest place to find it is around the Mono Lake area, many, MANY miles away to the (north,south,east,west). Mono Lake was the land of the Fly Eaters.

They were called the Fly Eaters by the Yosemite indians because they ate a sweet concoction made of fly larve that grew on the salty brine of the lake. Sweets are hard to come by in the basin and range country and they were highly sought after.

They traded Fly Eater sweets and obsidian glass for arrowheads with the Yosemite paiutes, who in turbn had to offer acorn mash, bread and pine nuts. This transSierra trade went on right up to Chief Tenaya's day, when the White Man over ran the valley and the Mariposa "Battalion" drove out the last of the indians with cannons.

John Walker had benefitted from the hospitality of the Fly Eaters, so too had Fremont and Kit Carson. Those indians traded their obsidian gleaned from the Mono craters up and down the Californias.

And here, many miles and a couple hundred years apart, Brutus produced the shards of their handiwork.

He searched some more and found some more, soon we joined in and shortly we had a dozen or more arrowheads in hand. We lined them up and admired them.

I can't speak for my friends, but I silently imagined what it had been like in that same meadow 200 years gone by, before western europeans had changed everything. I imagined it wasn't so different really, not at the human level.

I imagine those arrowhead traders were men and women just like us, with hopes and dreams and aspirations. They wanted the best for thir kids. They pined for the soft touch of a woman, the comfort of home, the sated feeling of a full belly, the stern but wise leadership of a man.

They appreciated the beauty of the alpine glow the same as you or I might, the smell of pine and juniper on the air and as arrowhead shards on the highest peaks attest, they climbed too, surely for the pure joy of it as well as the views.

They're all gone now, every last one of them. They live on in memory alone and that day in the meadow they lived on in mine. I tipped my stream-cold beer to their memory and felt a connection, despite my western ways, mild buzz and the sordid history that seperated us. I felt very close to them, because of those shards, coupled with my knowledge of their history. For that hstorical knowledge I am indebted to others wise enough to save it, brave enough to fight for it, kind enough to share it. Its right here on the web now!

A bit later in the afternoon, satisified he'd found all there was to be found, Brutus gathered up those arrowheads, some intact, most of them broken - a magnificent collection really, gained with an hour's or so work.

He walked out into the clearing and one by one, and in random directions, he gently tossed them back from whence they came. It was like he was tossing ashes into the wind.

Himilayan prayer flags adorned out camp (they really did) and they fluttered in the wind as he performed his ritual. I just sat there, silent witness, in awe, with his power, with his imagination, with his respect. It still brings a tear to my eye to think about it. RESPECT....

Brutus walked back into camp, noticed me watching him. He nodded - "that way someone else will get to experience this," he offered as an explanation, without smile, without guile, and he walked off to find Nurse Ratchet. Dinner time was approaching and the two of them are wilderness gourmets - there were chores to be done.

That little scene - it was real man. It was real and among the most poignant, the most imacting, the more REVERENTIAL of my whole life.

Imagine instead, crushing those shards under boot in the haste to get to another climb...

DMT
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Jun 25, 2013 - 07:29am PT
A spear head, my contribution to this thread, found at Dinosaur Rock...
Credit: Footloose
Immaculate condition. An X has it. :)
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Jun 25, 2013 - 07:32am PT
Great story Dingus.. Thanks for sharing.

I've never actually found one myself.
micronut

Trad climber
Jun 25, 2013 - 07:34am PT
Wonderful story Dingus. Thank you for sharing that.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 25, 2013 - 07:42am PT
Credit: Ron Anderson

hers some -- the lil pink fish point in the center was found at the base of MAMA CAT boulder in Woodfords.

Some are MARTIS points- over a thousand yrs old. Others are Washoe and Shoshone . Desert side notches, clovis, and other designs.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Jun 25, 2013 - 07:53am PT
Ron, nice!
If you found them all, I am very impressed!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 25, 2013 - 08:03am PT
each and every Foot! the martis points came from dog valley area. One of those i CUT out of an aging Jeffrey pine that had died in the station.!


Others came after fires like the Indian creek fire. After fires,, they are OBVIOUS and so are the base rings of rock that formed many shelters. One of my "tricks" if you will.. Finding old camps is ALL about "humps and flats"..

One side notch lower right- white looking,, is PERFECT and as THIN as it can possibly be! The same man carved the largest point there- a spear. Right next to his camp was a camp where i found some of the ODDEST out of whack points ever. I could only conclude one was the master and the other was a youngster learning lol!
covelocos

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Jun 25, 2013 - 08:24am PT
Credit: covelocos

This was found by my son in the garden. Not a point, but probably a scraper of some kind.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 25, 2013 - 08:54am PT
Nice! Knife!


i should mention that the old points (Martis) in the upper L of my pic are made from andesite.


And Sal,, could that be mahogany obsidian? Theres a large source of that stuff on Montgomery pass.


Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Jun 25, 2013 - 09:04am PT
"He walked out into the clearing and one by one, and in random directions, he gently tossed them back from whence they came. It was like he was tossing ashes into the wind." Brutus walked back into camp, noticed me watching him. He nodded - "that way someone else will get to experience this,"

Beautiful, thanks DMT

BTW Ron that lower right one is a masters' work, incredible.

Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Jun 25, 2013 - 09:12am PT
Incredible story Dingus. A gift indeed. Thank you.
John M

climber
Jun 25, 2013 - 09:16am PT
"He walked out into the clearing and one by one, and in random directions, he gently tossed them back from whence they came. It was like he was tossing ashes into the wind." Brutus walked back into camp, noticed me watching him. He nodded - "that way someone else will get to experience this,"

My sentiments exactly. I have found some cool stuff in the backcountry, but always left it in place because I liked the idea of others finding it too. I also appreciate peoples collections, because its cool to study on that stuff and just look at them, but I really like leaving things in place.

though if I ever manage to find a big ass gold nugget, that will be going with me.. haha
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Jun 25, 2013 - 09:17am PT
"He walked out into the clearing and one by one, and in random directions, he gently tossed them back from whence they came. It was like he was tossing ashes into the wind." Brutus walked back into camp, noticed me watching him. He nodded - "that way someone else will get to experience this,"

I love that. . . too bad everybody doesn't treat them that way.

I knew a wilderness ranger on the INYO with a HUGE collection. . . all done up like it belonged in a museum. . . seemed like a big conflict of interest, to me.

?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jun 25, 2013 - 09:18am PT
Taken the day in question.... arrowheads were lined up on the old sheepherder's table in the foreground, till he released them.





I don't think the Shoshone had kit like this...


Got din din?


We called it Shangri La for very good reason... never saw nobody there, ever. Cept us.


DMT
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