Advertisement

Feldspar Point

  • Mark A. S. McMenamin
Chapter
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)

Abstract

A small stemmed projectile point from western Massachusetts possibly dating to the Late Woodland Phase (1100–300 years ago) but of unknown age (but in any case less than about 18,000 years old), was fabricated from a locally available crystal of orthoclase feldspar derived from granite or granodiorite. Fabrication of the point demonstrates a fairly sophisticated appreciation of the sculpting potential inherent in a potassium feldspar megacryst. Use of intact single crystals found in the environment by organisms has a long history on earth, dating back at least to the Cambrian Explosion. Between Phase I of crystal utilization (Proterozoic-Early Cambrian) and Phase II of crystal utilization (Homo sapiens crystal usage) is what is called here the Crystal Gap, a long stretch of geological time during which there is no evidence for use of discreet types of crystals by animals that have intentionally selected minerals of particular compositions from their environment.

Keywords

Feldspar Projectile point Connecticut Valley Feldspar cleavage Mineral evolution Evolution of mineral use 

References

  1. Cairns-Smith AG (1982) Genetic takeover and the mineral origins of life. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Cairns-Smith AG, Hartman H (1986) Clay minerals and the origin of life. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Dorais MJ (2003) The petrogenesis and emplacement of the New Hampshire plutonic suite. Am J Sci 303:447–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Flenniken JJ, Raymond AW (1986) Morphological projectile point typology: replication experimentation and technological analysis. Am Antiq 51:603–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hallet M (1994) Seismosaurus: the earth shaker. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Hazen RM et al (2008) Mineral evolution. Am Mineral 93(11–12):1693–1720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hazen RM et al (2017) On the mineralogy of the ‘Anthropocene Epoch’. Am Mineral 102(3). https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2017-5875
  8. Hoffman C (1992) A handbook of Indian artifacts from southern New England, Massachusetts Archaeological Society special publication #4. Massachusetts Archaeological Society, MiddleboroughGoogle Scholar
  9. Pawlikowski M (2012) Atomic structural templates of the earliest life on earth: vibration and lightning experiments with quartz and amino acids. In: Seckbach J (ed) Genesis—In the beginning. Cellular origin, life in extreme habitats and astrobiology, vol 22. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  10. Walsh MP (2008) Petrology and provenance of the Triassic Sugarloaf Arkose, Deerfield Basin, Massachusetts. M.S. Thesis, University of Massachusetts at AmherstGoogle Scholar
  11. Wray CF (1948) Varieties and sources of flint found in New York State. Pa Archaeol 18(1&2):25–45Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. S. McMenamin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeographyMount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA

Personalised recommendations