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Projectile Points
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LEHIGH/KOENS-CRISPIN

Thumbnail of a Lehighkoens-crispin point from the MAC Lab Collections.Defining Attributes

The Lehigh/Koens-Crispin point is large and well-made, with a broad ovate to lanceolate blade.  It has a distinctly short, contracting stem.

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Chronology

The Lehigh/Koens-Crispin point dates to the Late Archaic period.  Custer (1996a) suggests a date range of 2500 to 1700 BC.  Others give it a narrower range.  Steponaitis (1980) places it between 3900 and 3700 BP (2450-2100 BC in calendar years), while Ritchie (1971) and Justice (1987) link it to the morphologically-similar Snook Kill point at 3800 to 3600 BP.  Kinsey (1972) reports radiocarbon dates ranging from 1720 to 1470 BC (roughly 2100-1850 BC in calendar years).  Wall et al. (1996) suggest that variants of the type could extend as late as the Middle Woodland.

Description

Blade: The blade size and shape can range from a long, narrow, lanceolate form to larger and broader ovate forms, and is often asymmetric.  The blade is well-made and rather thin for its width.  The edges of the blade are typically well-shaped to remove manufacturing irregularities.

Haft Element: The stem is generally short in relation to the blade length.  Distinct shoulders form at the junction of the blade and stem, and they can be sharp or rounded. A majority of examples have contracting stems, although straight or even slightly expanding stems occur.  The base is mostly excurvate or straight, thinned, and often ground.

Size: The Lehigh/Koens-Crispin point is usually fairly large.  Length ranges from 44 to 120 mm.   Width ranges from 30 to 48 mm.  Thickness ranges from 5 to 12 mm.

Technique of manufacture: The point was manufactured by soft percussion, with little or no pressure retouching.  The flakes are very wide and overlap at the center of the blade. 

Material: In a sample of 89 Lehigh/Koens-Crispin points from the lower Patuxent drainage, Steponaitis (1980) reported that 48% were quartzite, followed by rhyolite (30%), quartz (21%), and argillite (1%).  In the area surrounding Zekiah Swamp on the lower Potomac, Wanser (1982) found that 51% of 126 Lehigh/Koens-Crispin points were rhyolite, with 26% quartz, 19% quartzite, and 4% chert or other materials.  In the Monocacy River drainage, 80% of 38 Lehigh/Koens-Crispins were rhyolite, with 5% each of quartz, quartzite, chert, and argillite (Kavanagh 1982).  Rhyolite Lehigh/Koens-Crispin points predominate in the middle Potomac River Valley (Hranicky 2002).  In Delaware, they are commonly made from argillite, rhyolite, and jasper (Custer 1996a).

Discussion

The Lehigh/Koens-Crispin point is found across the northeastern United States.  It is one of a class of points known as “broadspears,” although this can be misleading, as many were used as knives.

The nomenclature of the Lehigh/Koens-Crispin point is confusing.  Regional names for the type – such as Lehigh, Koens-Crispin, and Snook Kill – were proposed at various times, and first two names are now commonly combined.  The regional variants are mostly distinguished by lithic material preferences (Kinsey 1972). 

The Lehigh/Koens-Crispin overlaps in time with the Savannah River point, and the two share certain morphological similarities.  In Virginia, two short-stemmed local variants of the Savannah River, named the Cattle Run (Geier 1996) and the Island Swamp (McAvoy and McAvoy 1997), have been defined, and they bear a resemblance to Lehigh/Koens-Crispin points. 

Defined in Literature

The Leigh/Koens-Crispin point was first identified in 1916, but it was not defined until Cross (1941) named it after the Koens-Crispin site.  Witthoft (1953) identified the Lehigh point, and Ritchie (1971) noted its similarity to the Snook Kill type.  Coe (1964) stated that Savannah River-type points were found at the Koens-Crispin site.  Kinsey (1972) combined the Lehigh and Koens-Crispin points into a single type. 

Other Names Used

Snook Kill

References

Coe 1964; Cross 1941; Custer 1996a; Geier 1996; Hranicky 2002; Justice 1987; Kavanagh 1982; Kinsey 1972; McAvoy and McAvoy 1997; Ritchie 1971; Steponaitis 1980; Wall et al. 1996; Wanser 1982; Witthoft 1953

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Maryland's Prehistory

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Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab Updated: 12/30/12

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