VMNH Assistant Curator of Archaeology Dr

VMNH Assistant Curator of Archaeology Dr

VMNH Assistant Curator of Archaeology Dr. Hayden Bassett traveled to a Henry County (Virginia) resident's property this week to survey a plowed field that recently exposed artifacts. This photo was provided by the landowner. VMNH commends the property owner for immediately contacting the museum to report this find.

The landowner located a "projectile point," the shape and size of which fits into Virginia's established typology. While these artifacts are commonly referred to as "arrowheads," many (such as this one) pre-date bow and arrow technology, and are actually spear or dart points. Archaeologists therefore generally refer to these types of artifacts as "projectile points."

Dr. Bassett identified the projectile point as belonging to the "Morrow Mountain" series, dating to approximately 5100 to 4200 BC (Virginia's Middle Archaic period). Associated artifacts in the field suggest that the site was likely a temporary campsite used by Native Americans in this region for hunting game along one of the area's many creeks. You can read more about the Middle Archaic period on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources' website: (https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/first-people-the-early-indians-of-virginia/middle-archaic-6000-2500-b-c/)

Thank you again to the local property owner for reporting this important object, leading to the identification of a previously unrecorded archaeological site.

If you or your acquaintances ever come across artifacts, such as this on the ground, please report the location and send a photo of the object(s) to your Regional Preservation Office (https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/about-dhr/regional-preservation-offices/) or the Virginia Museum of Natural History (for Virginia residents in surrounding counties).

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