An Unusual Bifacial End Scraper from 40DV434

L-108b

This is a complete and very unusual bifacial end scraper in the overall shape of an elongate trapezoid―with the small end of the trapezoid being the base of the end scraper at its proximal end.

It may have been knapped from the broken-off distal end of a very thin, narrow, lanceolate pp/k of indeterminate type, time period, and date. The tip end of this broken-off distal pp/k forms the base (proximal end) of the end scraper.

The proximal end of the end scraper is a long, narrow, thin stem that is slightly expanded on one of its lateral edges and straight on the other lateral edge. The stem is 7.5 mm in length. Moving toward the distal end of this end scraper, along both lateral edges, the stem ends with opposing half notches in each lateral edge. Two opposing full notches (one on each side) are located just beyond the half notches, meaning this scraping implement required a long stem and double notches for secure hafting.

Still moving toward the distal end, the lateral edges of this implement continue expanding outward toward the wide bit end of the end scraper. This bit end is gently excurvate, and it has a vertical slope of approximately 45°. A small nick is present on one lateral edge of this end scraper, and another one is present near the center of the scraping edge. The sloped scraping edge is smooth from wear. This small end scraper [33 mm long × 22.3 mm wide (bit end)] is remarkably thin (6.5 mm maximum thickness).

The prehistoric time period and prehistoric cultural association for this end scraper is unknown. Site 40DV434 is a multi-component site. The most intensive occupations of this site occurred during the Middle Archaic and Late Archaic periods. Only one radiocarbon date is available for the Archaic period occupation at this site. This date was obtained from a human bone collagen sample (Burial 57), which yielded a date of 6601 – 6280 cal BP (Deter-Wolf and Straub 2019:26).

An interesting question arises here. What type of prehistoric scraping task(s) would require so strong a haft for such a small and delicate scraping implement?

Quite frankly, I have never seen such a small and delicate bifacial end scraper with double hafting like this one. Any criticism of the above text is welcome, especially with regard to the notion of it being knapped from the broken off distal end of a thin pp/k. I know I am on thin ice about that—more intuition than any hard evidence observable on the artifact. What do you think? Comments are open.

References

Deter-Wolf, Aaron and Leslie Straub 2019. Archaic Shell-Bearing Site Investigations in the Middle Cumberland River Valley. In The Cumberland River Archaic of Middle Tennessee, edited by Tanya M. Peres and Aaron Deter-Wolf, 15-41. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida.

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