TWO NEW FLUTED POINT FINDS
Fluted point base from Vail site.
 Fluted point from Vail site Maine.
VAIL SITE
OXFORD COUNTY, MAINE

ABSTRACT: 

NEW FLUTED POINTs from vail
PALEO-INDIAN
Descovering a fluted point on the Vail site. Excavating on the Vail site, Maine. Holding a fluted point on the Vail site, Maine.

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   The two recently discovered points pictured in this article were found on the surface on the Vail site last December by John Halunen. Two "ears" that were excavated on the site decades ago were found to be a fit. The two "ears" are  property of the Maine State Museum. The significance of the find helps to further the connection between two different features on site. One has been described as a possible kill site and the other a habitation site.

   The Vail site is located in a high mountain river valley in Oxford County, Maine on the shore line (at times of low water Level) of Aziscohos Lake. The elevation of Aziscohos Lake is 1863 feet. The site was discovered by Mr. Francis Vail, Jr. while looking for fishing tackle lost on snags. The site was first reported to Dr. Richard M. Gramly of the Buffalo Museum of Science in Buffalo, New York. He eventually excavated the Paleo-Indian encampment and later discovered two possible kill sites near the campsite, one 820 feet away and another 820 yards away. (Gramly 1984:110)

Fluted point base from the Vail, Maine.
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FLUTED POINT
VAIL SITE
OXFORD COUNTY, MAINE

By Richard Michael Gramly, PhD

   This medial section belonging to a long, wide fluted point (estimated 150mm x 42mm) was discovered in December, 2001 at Vail kill site #1 by amateur archaeologist John Halunen of Farmington, Maine. The matching ear (Vail 7419) was unearthed in 1980 excavations of Locus F at the Vail habitation site 150-200 m to the east on the opposite shore of an ancient channel of the Magalloway River.
   It appears to be fashioned of Cambro-Ordovician chert, perhaps originating in the Hudson River Valley or some other lithic source, hundreds of kilometers distant from the Vail site.
   This conjoined spear point is one of seven linking the Vail habitation and kill sites. These discoveries enable us to argue that a large group of hunters awaited the seasonal arrival of caribou herds, slaughtering many hundreds en route to their winter quarters.

Fluted point from the Vail site, Maine.
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FLUTED POINT
VAIL SITE
OXFORD COUNTY, MAINE

By Richard Michael Gramly, Ph.D.

   This large fluted point showing signs of extensive reworking because of damage by use (?) has been refitted from fragments found separately at the Vail kill and habitation sites. The sites lie on opposite sides of an ancient channel of the Magalloway River.
   The ear (Vail 4121) was unearthed at Locus E of the habitation site during 1980 excavations; while, the matching tip was found in December, 2001, on the surface of Vail kill site #1 by amateur archaeologist John Halunen of Farmington, Maine.
   The edges of the spear point are very fresh and unweathered suggesting that it was only recently exposed by the waters of man-made Aziscohos Lake, The raw material appears to be Cambro-Orodovician chert, possibly from a distant lithic source.
   This conjoined specimen is one of seven linking the Vail habitation and kill sites. Seasonal interception of herd animals, likely caribou, by a large band of hunters is suggested.

   One curious phenomenon easily observed on the surface of both of these broken fluted points is an area of high polish. At present, the cause of this polish has not yet been determined. Dr. Ken Tankersley writes----"The most difficult aspect of analyzing polish is to determine if it is contemporary with the manufacture or use of the weapon or tool, or if it is a post-dispositional phenomenon".

Polished surface on Vail fluted point. Polished surface on Vail fluted point.
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SURFACE POLISH ON FLUTED POINTS
VAIL SITE
OXFORD COUNTY, MAINE

   These two pictures show two of the areas of concentrated polish on the surface around the hafting area. If you click on the larger pictures you will be able to the polished surface more clearly.

   "Chert polish can occur from mechanical disintegration, chemical decomposition, or both. Abrasion from sand, silt, or clay, or some combination, in a natural saturated environment, or anthropogenically from use can create the polish".
   "Dr. Bruce Bradley has created polish on organic-rich stone by simply knapping in a certain manner. The abrasion created when the flake slides off the core will create a polish".
   "Then there is the polish from exposure to acidic or alkaline environments of a particular PH. Even stomach acid will create polish".--Dr. Ken Tankersley

"REFERENCES"

2002, Personal communications with Dr. Mike Gramly.
2002, Personal communications with Dr. Ken Tankersley.

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