Hahn Highlights: Fort Ancient Serrated Arrow Point
Posted On: 10/23/2017 - 11:44am, Posted By: Tyler Swinney, NAGPRA Coordinator and Tribal Liaison
Welcome to the seventh 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 serrated triangular arrow point recovered from Feature 331, a Madisonville-age (A.D. 1400-1650) refuse-filled pit that truncated a Middle Fort Ancient (A.D. 1250-1450) house basin on the northeastern periphery of the site.
As a multi-component Fort Ancient site, it is not uncommon to encounter superimposed, or overlapping, Late and Middle Fort Ancient deposits at Hahn. Located in Units 103, 109, and 110, Feature 331 is an excellent example of superimposition as it bisected an earlier Middle Fort Ancient house basin that Cincinnati Museum Center archaeologists were investigating to better understand Late Prehistoric domestic architecture in the lower Little Miami River Valley. Although partially looted at its origin, Feature 331 is also interesting because of its enormous size. That is, with a maximum diameter of approximately 174 cm and a maximum depth of 130 cm below ground surface, No. 331 is perhaps the largest pit feature excavated to date by volume at roughly 2.31 m3!
Exhibiting thin, slender isosceles triangular blades, Triangular Cluster projectile points, such as Madison, Fort Ancient, Levanna, and Hamilton Incurvate typologies are diagnostic to the terminal Late Woodland and Late Prehistoric time periods (A.D. 800-1650). Thought to have been introduced to the Ohio River Valley from Mississippian communities in the American Bottom, Triangular Cluster projectile points are found throughout the Eastern United States, and are perhaps representative of the widespread adoption of the bow and arrow circa A.D. 800-1000. Primarily found throughout the tristate-area of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, Fort Ancient points differ from other Triangular Cluster projectile points in that they are commonly serrated during the Middle Fort Ancient Period.
Considering that the serrated Fort Ancient projectile point pictured above was recovered from a Late Fort Ancient deposit that bisected a Middle Fort Ancient house basin, it was most likely incorporated into No. 331 incidentally during excavation or filling. That is, because serrated Fort Ancient projectile points are diagnostic to the Middle Fort Ancient Period, it was perhaps initially associated with the Middle Fort Ancient house basin and only became associated with Feature 331 because of cultural formation processes linked to the excavation or filling of No. 331. Indeed, because later occupations often displace earlier deposits, it is not unusual for artifacts from earlier occupations to be incorporated into later deposits at the Hahn site.