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Projectile Points
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NORMANSKILL

Thumbnail image of a Normanskill point.Defining Attributes

The medium-sized Normanskill point is well-made, narrow and thick, and has wide, pronounced side notches.

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Chronology

The Normanskill has been variously placed in the Middle and Late Archaic periods, although radiocarbon dating supports the latter age.  Kinsey (1972) reports radiocarbon dates of 1930 +/- 100 BC and 1350 +/- 200 BC (approximately 2450 and 1650 BC in calendar years) for the type in New York.  Funk (1993) indicates that radiocarbon dates and stratigraphic position place the Normanskill between 1900 and 1600 BC (2350-1850 BC calendar) in the Upper Susquehanna Valley.

Description

Blade: The blade is narrow and triangular, with straight to slightly excurvate edges and a biconvex cross section.  Asymmetry of the shoulders sometimes occurs, with one at an acute angle and the other at an obtuse angle.  

Haft Element: The stem has wide, deep, sometimes squarish side notches, and is slightly thinned by coarse flaking from the base.  The base is expanded, and is generally straight, but some examples are slightly concave.  Basal grinding occasionally occurs.

Size: The length ranges from 37 to 70 mm, with the majority averaging 41 to 51 mm. The width ranges from 16 to 32 mm, and the thickness from 5 to 10 mm.

Technique of manufacture: Percussion is used for the rough shaping of the point, and pressure flaking to produce the marginal retouching.

Material: In the area surrounding Zekiah Swamp on the lower Potomac, Wanser (1982) found that 54% of 199 Normanskill and “Normanskill-like” points were quartzite, with 40% quartz, 5% rhyolite, and 1% argillite.  Normanskills found in the middle Potomac River Valley are made of cherts, rhyolite, and quartzite (Hranicky 2002).

Discussion

The Normanskill point is found in the northeastern United States.  Ritchie (1971) suggested it had a morphological relationship to the Lamoka and Brewerton points, and that it could even be a slender variant of the side notched Brewerton, but more recent dating indicates that the Normanskill is later than the other two types.  Others have noted a similarity to the Clagett point, and Wanser (1982) suggested that the morphological and locational correlation between the two types in the Zekiah Swamp area indicated they might be variants of a generalized side notched type.

Defined in Literature

The Normanskill point was first defined by Ritchie in 1961, with revisions in 1971.  It was named after the Normanskill, a tributary of the Hudson River in eastern New York.

References

Funk 1993; Hranicky 2002; Kinsey 1972; Ritchie 1971; Wanser 1982

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Maryland's Prehistory

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Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab Updated: 12/30/12

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