Hahn Highlights: Lowe Cluster Projectile Point
Posted On: 07/05/2017 - 12:03pm, Posted By: Tyler Swinney, NAGPRA Coordinator and Tribal Liaison
Welcome to the fourth installment of Archaeology Collections’ long-term blog series: Hahn Highlights!
Today we have another interesting artifact recovered during Cincinnati Museum Center’s Archaeology Field School at the Hahn Site: a heavily re-sharpened Lowe Cluster projectile point recovered from Feature 229, a late Woodland (AD 400-1000) refuse-filled pit.
Lowe Cluster Projectile Point
One of the primary reasons that the Hahn Site was chosen for Cincinnati Museum Center’s Archaeology Field School was to address questions about site chronology. Although early excavations and surface collections by avocational archaeologists indicated that the Hahn Site was primarily occupied during the Middle and Late Fort Ancient Periods (AD 1250-1650), material culture evidence suggests sporadic, smaller-scale occupations during the earlier Woodland Period (1000 BC – AD 1000). However, because intensive Fort Ancient occupations disturbed earlier deposits, much of the evidence for Hahn’s Woodland component is obscured. In fact, intact Woodland deposits are quite rare at the Hahn Site and No. 229 is one of the only Woodland features excavated to date that was not disturbed by the Late Prehistoric Fort Ancient settlements.
Located on the northwestern periphery of the Hahn Site, Feature 229, a basin-shaped pit, was encountered during the 2014 field excavation. Measuring approximately 1.86 meters east to west and 1.90 meters north to south, it was fairly shallow with a maximum depth of only about 50 centimeters below the plowzone. Although shallow, Feature 229 was well-stratified with four distinct cultural horizons – A through D – that consisted of habitation midden with large quantities of rock-tempered ceramics, redeposited fire cracked rock, as well as burned and unburned bone.
Exhibiting expanding bases and triangular-shaped blades, Lowe Cluster projectile points, such as Chesser, Steuben, and Bakers Creek typologies, are diagnostic to the terminal Middle Woodland and Late Woodland Periods (ca. AD 400-800). Thought to be a derivative of the Snyders Cluster, Lowe Cluster projectile points are found throughout the Midwest, and in the greater Cincinnati-area, are frequently associated with the Hopewell and Newtown cultures. Although often referred to as projectile points, Lowe Cluster points probably served dual functions as knives and spear points, and may have been propelled by an atlatl or throwing spear. As utilitarian objects, Lowe Cluster points are often found heavily re-sharpened and were occasionally recycled into hafted scrapers or drills after they were no longer serviceable as projectile points or knives.