The theme throughout this document is that artifacts representing the various stages of Folsom Point manufacture are failures of that process. Stage 9 and Stage 6 had the vast majority of these failures. Stage 9 failures represent 50% of the preforms in the archaeological record and Stage 6 represent 45%. Stage 9 produced the most failures because the preforms were thinner at the time of fluting. Both Stages consisted of only a single blow that removed the channel flake and, therefore, the two have the same failure modes. (Refer back to Stage 6 for more details of these modes.)
This is a proximal fragment of a preform resulting from the Face B channel flake plunging into the body during removal (right image). The lateral edges of the preform are not symmetrical and, as a result, the channel flake scars are not symmetrical. However, I do not believe this asymmetry caused the failure. This knapper was just not as concerned about the symmetry as the knappers of the other preforms shown here. This asymmetrical shape is unusual, but not rare.
This is also a proximal fragment resulting from the Face B channel flake plunging into the body of the preform during removal. Unlike the preform above, this one is extremely symmetrical. It consists of three pieces glued together. The break lines between the fragments run from a point in the middle of the right edge in the left image (left edge in the right image) and fan out toward the proximal and distal edges. Did this preform break in this manner during the channel flake removal or was it broken subsequently? I believe it was later and was intentional. These fragments are "pie" shaped wedges which make good burins. Additionally, these wedges are commonly found in Folsom assemblages and made from bifaces, flakes and other flat tools1 . I believe this preform was broken in this manner to obtain these wedges.
This split proximal fragment was a real catastrophe. The Face B channel flake not only plunged into the preform, the preform was simultaneously split during the fluting process. Splits similar to this occured ocasionally and probably resulted from the knapper's flaking tool following through and hitting the preform after the channel flake had been removed.
This preform is also interesting because the large fragment from the midsection was later used as a spokeshave. The spokeshave is the concavity located on the right edge in the left image (left edge in the right image). A spokeshave is a tool used to shape round wooden shafts like the spokes in a wheel on a wooden wagon. Obviously, this spokeshave worked smaller shafts.
This is my favorite preform. It is another proximal fragment that resulted from the Face B channel flake plunging into the body. It was found on the edge of a high ridge that had a view for 40 miles in 270 degrees of direction. It was an isolated find and there was no other chipping associated with it, Paleo or otherwise. At first it appears to be made of Alibates. However, the material is a petrified wood that is foreign to the area in which it was found. What was this preform doing in this isolated spot that had such a fabulous view? It wasn't made there because there was no other chipping debris. Was it transported to this location after the fluting attempt failed? Was it transported there by the Folsom knapper, by another Folsom person, or by a person of a later culture?
This is a proximal fragment without evidence of the Face B channel flake plunging into the body. The break at the distal edge occurred after Face B was fluted. The right ear in the left image is missing. This may have occurred at the time of fluting Face B, but I am not sure. I do not have an explanation for the condition of this preform.
This is a proximal fragment of a small preform. It is similar to the preform immediately above, in that the flute on Face B was successfully remove. Unlike the one above, this one was purposely broken. I know this because of the discontinuity (knee) in the distal edge of the preform. This is where the force was applied. It was probably laid on a hard surface and hit in the middle of the face with another rock. The reason for smashing the preform is unknown. Some people have suggested it was to create the pie shaped wedges discussed above. Others have suggested it was done ritualistically. (Check out Stage 10 for more discussion of the ritualistic subject.) There is also the possibility a cow stepped on it.
This is almost a whole preform and very problematic. First, the flute scars demonstrate one of the occasional deviations from the normal fluting pattern. Face A (?) was fluted from the proximal end. Face B was fluted from the distal end and since the flake scar did not extent to the proximal end, the preform was then thinned from the proximal end.
After the fluting and thinning, this preform was beveled and serrated on the lateral edges. Preforms similar to this with beveled, serrated edges are very rare in the archaeological record. I have see two others besides this one. Bob Patten has suggested this was part of Stage 10--Post Fluting Retouch. If this is correct it is a procedure to quickly trim the lateral edges. Finally, this preform appears to have been purposely smashed with a blow to the face. Note the knee and missing wedge from the midsection of the artifact.
1 These pie shaped wedges are referred to as "radial break tools" in FOLSOM TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY at the Hanson Site, Wyoming by George C. Frison and Bruce A. Bradley (1980:96-99).