#TBT to Spear point found at rare dates back 10,500 years

We’ve decided to jump on the #TBT (Throwback Thursday) social media train and share old articles from our newsletter! This #TBT post Spear point found at rare dates back 10,500 years comes to us from the Fall 2012 rare review, and was written by rare Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) and Archaeology Committee member John MacDonald. Enjoy!

As an Archaeologist, volunteer and advisor to rare, I’ve combed just about every square meter of the Reserve’s 900+ acres. My primary interest lay in the 130 archaeological sites found so far which are significant enough to be registered with the Province of Ontario. Additional numerous single artifacts have been found as well but are not registered.

 The registered sites range from single artifacts identifiable to a particular time period or cultural style, to hectare-sized villages. After more than ten years of intentional searching for sites, imagine my delight when one of the most significant artifacts found on the property was discovered by pure chance and during what can be considered ironic circumstance.

 On May 2, 2011, I took Laura Robson (then Environmental Sciences Intern) on a hike so that Laura could learn more of the land’s history and become familiar with the locations of some of the archaeological sites on the rare property. As the hike progressed we stopped at a location along the River Trail where a single non-diagnostic artifact had been found several years earlier in the woods, and just where we stopped a spear point lay exposed on the trail between my feet.

 That spring had been an exceedingly wet season. The spear point was still embedded in the soil, but the rains had washed away any dirt that had previously covered it. The artifact discovery is important because this artifact is the oldest ever found on the property by at least 1,000 years and represents the only artifact found at rare from the Paleo-Indian period, when the first peoples occupied southern Ontario post glaciation.

 The point is complete, approximately eight centimeters in length, 3.5 cm wide at its mid-section and 8.7 millimeters in maximum thickness. From the mid-section, it tapers to a rounded tip at its distal end and tapers more gradually toward its proximal end leaving a straight base. The edges appear to have been pressure flaked leaving parallel flake scars when finishing the shaping of the point.

Point found at rare. Photo by J. MacDonald


From the shape of the point, I am conservatively estimating that it is 10,500 years old. At that time the climate would have been colder than now, and the vegetation would have had a boreal forest make-up; more spruce than pine. With this discovery – definitive evidence that people were on the rare lands during those early times – I am more excited than ever to continue to search for a Paleo habitation site on the property.

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