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Projectile Points
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MEADOWOOD

Defining Attributes

The Meadowood is a very thin, medium-to-large point, with delicate, well-defined side notching.

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Chronology

Although Ritchie (1971), in his initial type description, associated the Meadowood point with radiocarbon dates as early as 2448 BC, most consider it an Early Woodland period type.  Funk (1993) places it between 1000 and 560 BC (approximately 1300-750 BC in calendar years) in eastern New York and the Delaware Valley, although a questionable radiocarbon date of 1230 BC (roughly 1500 BC calendar) was obtained at one site. Tache (2011) suggests a date range of 1000 to 400 BC (1300-425 BC calendar). The Nassawango site in Worcester County, Maryland produced a Meadowood point dated to 2445 +/- 100 BP, while another Meadowood site on the Delmarva Peninsula had dates ranging from 970 BC to 700 BC calendar (Lowery 2012).

Description

Blade: The blade is triangular, thin, and flat, with edges that are straight or slightly incurvate or excurvate.  It is occasionally serrated or beveled from opposite sides, probably as a result of resharpening.

Haft Element: The type is neatly side notched low on the point.  Double notched, corner notched, and box-base points with small side notches are occasional variants (Tache 2011).  Notch openings are narrow, and are usually shallow to moderately deep.  The base can be convex or straight, and is sometimes considerably wider than the blade. The base is often thinned, and grinding is common around the edges and notches.

Size: The point ranges from 41 to 89 mm in length, with the majority between 43 and 77 mm.  The width ranges from 13 to 36 mm, with an average of 28 mm.  The thickness rarely exceeds 5 mm.

Technique of manufacture: Soft percussion flaking, followed by well-controlled pressure flaking showing great skill.

Material: In the Monocacy River drainage, 58% of 12 Meadowood points were rhyolite, with 25% chert and 8.5% each of quartzite and jasper (Kavanagh 1982).  In the middle Potomac Valley, chert, quartzite, and rhyolite Meadwood points have been found, but they are not common (Hranicky 2002).  At the Abbott Farm site complex in New Jersey, chert was the most common Meadowood material, followed by jasper and argillite (Wall et al. 1996).

Discussion

The Meadowood is found in the Northeast and Great Lakes region.  It is uncommon in Maryland and rare in Virginia.  Many of these points could have been manufactured by slight alteration, or notching, of the cache blades found in burials of the Meadowood culture (Ritchie 1971).  Sometimes Adena points are found in association with them. Given the relative rareness of the point across its range, it is possible that it may have been a prestige item (Tache 2011). 

Defined in Literature

The Meadowood point was first defined by Ritchie in 1961 (revised 1971).

References

Funk 1993; Hranicky 2002; Kavanagh 1982; Lowery 2012; Ritchie 1971; Tache 2011; Wall et al. 1996

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Maryland's Prehistory

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Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab Updated: 12/30/12

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