Feldspar Point

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


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.


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


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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

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