ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lori Kay Gross (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Prehistoric artifact cache discoveries are poorly understood archaeological phenomena. A few such occurrences consisting of groups of stone artifacts buried in forgotten underground pits are known in North Carolina. This research presents the results of an analysis of the accidental discovery of a cache of 81 stone artifacts during landscaping activities by a Montgomery County resident. Referred to as the Shelor cache this analysis places the artifacts in their prehistoric temporal and spatial context. A typological comparison using existing collections focused on a quantitative analysis of artifact dimensions including length, width, thickness, and weight. A qualitative analysis focused on an analysis of flaking patterns and stone type. The result of these analyses supports a consistent artifact form with little variation in size and shape that appear to represent a collection of unfinished spear points. Moreover, a visual inspection of the stone texture, groundmass color, and the presence/absence of mineral inclusions suggest the artifacts are made from a single type of aphyric rhyolite that is distinguished by its dark gray colored groundmass and homogeneous fine-grained texture as well as its distinctive flow banding (Daniel 1998). This material was probably obtained from a nearby stone quarry in the Uwharrie Mountains. Results support that this artifact cache represents a group of stone tools manufactured and deposited during the Middle Archaic period (8900-5800 BP). The intended purpose of the cache is still unclear. Typically artifact caches are located some distance from known stone sources and were probably intended to supply items for later use where time or materials were in short supply. However, the fact that these artifacts appear to be located close to their probable stone source is somewhat unexpected. While it may not be possible to know with certainty the intended purpose of the cache, hypotheses are developed for future testing. Overall, this research contributes to the existing knowledge of cache discoveries in North Carolina and provides valuable information for future research regarding this rare archaeological phenomenon.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Montgomery County, Guilford, Shelor Site, Cache, Archaeology, Rhyolite, Morrow Mountain, 31MG2051
Archaeological site location--North Carolina; Montgomery County (N.C.); Stone implements--North Carolina--Montgomery County; Tools, Prehistoric--North Carolina--Montgomery County; Uwharrie Mountains (N.C.)

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TitleLocation & LinkType of Relationship
AN ANALYSIS OF A STONE ARTIFACT CACHE FROM THE SHELOR SITE (31MG2051) IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.