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Projectile Points
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BREWERTON EARED TRIANGLE

Defining Attributes

The Brewerton Eared Triangle is a small-to-medium, thin, triangular point, with small ears at the ends of the base.

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Chronology

The Brewerton Eared Triangle point is part of the Brewerton Complex, which began during the late Middle Archaic period and continued into the Late Archaic.  There are few radiocarbon dates for the Brewerton Eared Triangle, but one is 4795 +/- 230 BP (approximately 3650 BC in calendar years) at the Camelot No. 2 site in New York (Funk 1993).  Most authorities feel the four point types of the Brewerton Complex were contemporary, although Ritchie (1971) suggests the Side Notched was the oldest. Custer (1996b) places the start of the Brewerton Complex around 4300 BC (calendar) and continuing to perhaps 1600 BC.  Justice (1987) suggests a range of 4930 to 3673 BP (approximately 3700-2050 BC calendar), while Funk (1993) suggests 5150 to 4450 BP (approximately 3950-3100 BC calendar) for the Brewerton Complex in the Upper Susquehanna Valley.

Description

Blade: The blade is triangular or ovoid in shape, and biconvex in cross section.  Edges are generally excurvate, but occasionally straight.

Haft Element: The base of this stemless point is usually slightly concave, but is sometimes straight.  It can be ground.  Small, delicate ears are present on either side of the broad base.

Size: Length ranges from 22 to 66 mm, with most between 27 and 38 mm.  Width ranges from 16 to 26 mm, with an average of 20 mm.  Thickness ranges from 4 to 6 mm, with an average of 5 mm.

Technique of manufacture: Carefully made by pressure flaking.

Material: In a sample of 14 Brewerton Eared Triangle points from the lower Patuxent drainage, Steponaitis (1980) reported that 70% were quartz, followed by rhyolite (23%) and quartzite (7%).  In the area surrounding Zekiah Swamp on the lower Potomac, Wanser (1982) found that 69% of 13 Brewerton Eared Triangle points were quartz, with 15% rhyolite, 8% quartzite, and 8% chert.

Discussion

Brewerton Eared Triangle points are found throughout the Northeast from southern New England to northern Virginia, and west along the entire Ohio Valley (Justice 1987).  They are a minority type in the Brewerton Complex (Ritchie 1971). 

Ritchie (1971) notes that these points intergrade with the Brewerton Eared Notched point, and may have developed from that type.  Justice (1987) considers the Brewerton Eared Triangle to be a variant of the Brewerton Eared Notched, with the Eared Triangle generally wider and thinner than Eared Notched points of the same length, which may be a reflection of the amount of re-sharpening on examples of the two types. 

Defined in Literature

Ritchie first described this type in 1940, and published a formal definition in 1961 (revised 1971). 

References

Custer 1996b; Funk 1993; Justice 1987; Ritchie 1971; Steponaitis 1980; Wanser 1982

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Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab Updated: 12/30/12

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