restricted access 7. Ground Stone Artifacts
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104 7 Ground Stone Artifacts Macy O’Hearn Ground stone is considered to be any stone artifact that is not flaked during the course of manufacture, and includes non-chert artifacts produced by battering, grinding, abrading, smoothing, or polishing. In total, 167 ground stone artifacts were recovered over the two field seasons at the Corey site (table 7.1). Ground stone artifacts are not often included in detailed formal artifact analysis and interpretation in the Northeast. However, a consideration of the ground stone assemblage is essential to understanding the possibility of occupational specialization at Corey. Miniature Pallets (n=51) One unique aspect of the ground stone assemblage from the Corey site is the large number of small grinding pallets (figure 7.1). These are characterized by a smooth, slightly concave grinding surface. An additional characteristic of the pallet assemblage is the reddish-brown or black discolorations that are evident on the grinding surface of at least five pallets. Excluding broken specimens, the pallets range in length between 3.75 and 12.25 centimeters, 2.75 and 8.25 centimeters in width, and 0.75 and 7.25 centimeters in depth, and they weigh between 3 and 745 grams. The average length is 7.16 centimeters, width is 5.59 centimeters, depth is 2.72 centimeters , and weight is 166.43 grams. The average grinding surface area of this miniature pallet assemblage is 28.3 square centimeters. A typology based on the general shape and appearance of small pallets places them into four categories. The pallets that are primarily rounded were classified as “ovate or rounded” (n=26), and the ones with straighter edges were classified as “angular or rectangular” (n=4). Each T A B L E 7. 1 . Frequency of ground stone artifacts Ground stone artifact type Frequency Miniature pallet 51 Hand grinder (mano) 46 Pestle 32 Hammer stone 20 Abrader 7 Nutting stone 2 Grooved axhead 1 Unfinished celt 1 Large metate 1 Net sinker 1 Polisher 1 7.1. Miniature pallets. (Courtesy of Jack Rossen) 106 | macy o’hearn of these two types may be separated into small, medium, and large subtypes . An “irregular” type (n=12) is for specimens that possess elements of both rounded and angular pallets or are otherwise unclassifiable. Last, pallets that were broken prior to excavation are designated simply as “unknown broken” (n=9). Pallets were also sorted based on thickness, as either “shallow” pallets (less than or equal to 2 cm in depth), “medium” (between 2.1 and 4 cm in depth), or “thick” (greater than or equal to 4.1 cm in depth). Of the fiftyone pallets in the sample, seventeen are shallow, twenty-five are medium, and nine are thick. It is unknown whether the differentiation in shape or size within this sample of small pallets bears any significance to the type of material being processed. Hand Grinders (n=46) A total of forty-six hand grinders (manos) was recovered at the Corey site. Length (3.5–15.5 cm, average 8.5 cm), width (3.3–12 cm, average 5.8 cm), depth (2–8 cm, average 4.5 cm), and weight (26–3,020 gm, average 310 gm) vary substantially. The average area of the grinding surface is 24 square centimeters. The average surface grinding area of manos is larger than for pestles (see below), and it is possible that the differences are related to the specific plant material being processed. Pestles (n=32) Ground stone pestles found at the Corey site are characterized by an elongated handle and small grinding area on one end. They are distinguished from hand grinders because they are generally smaller and longer in relation to the small grinding surface. Like hand grinders, pestles show variability in handle length (2.5–8.3 cm, average 5 cm), width (1–3.5 cm, average 2.8 cm), depth (2–6.3 cm, average 4.3 cm), and especially weight (7–239 gm, average 80 gm). Grinding surfaces of pestles range from 1.5 to 12.5 square centimeters with an average 6.3 square centimeters. Three pestles have evidence of such heavy use that they have developed a glassy sheen, and twelve others have sustained dark-gray, black, reddish-brown, or reddish-purple discoloration, possibly from pigments Ground Stone Artifacts | 107 or plant materials. One pestle possesses both a glassy sheen and a reddish -brown discoloration on the grinding surface. At least three “erratic” pestles were manufactured...


Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- New York (State) -- Cayuga County -- Antiquities.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- New York (State) -- Cayuga County.
  • Cayuga Indians -- Religion.
  • Cayuga Indians -- History.
  • Cayuga Indians -- Antiquities.
  • Cayuga County (N.Y.) -- Antiquities.
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