Special note: The Survey was "killed" by the Board of the Archeological Society of Virginia in the early 2000s. They reasoned that the Survey had too many fakes; thus, it was not a contribution to Virginia's prehistorical studies. When in fact, the Board was dominated by "know-nothing" professional archaeologists. These so-called professionals even today provide little knowledge on Virginia's paleo-prehistory in the public realm. The Survey database is used in countless state and educational institutions for studies on Paleoindians. The Survey point data is in Paleoindian Database of the Americas.
Virginia Clovis Points.
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The McCary Fluted Point Survey is a collection of point metrics, personal observations, rubbings, drawings, and digital images; Survey records vary with these elements. The Survey contains 1000+ points and is presented in the following pages. Available here, A Model for a Paleoindian Point Survey offers guidelines for setting up and running a survey. Also, Jack Hranicky and Ben McCary published Clovis Technology in Virginia in 1995.
Webmaster: Wm Jack Hranicky, RPA, Archaeologist
McCary Fluted Point Survey
Wm Jack Hranicky RPA
Ben C. McCary started the Survey in 1947, and he collected point data for over 40 years. When he retired with the Survey, he turned the Survey over to Michael F. Johnson. With the assistance of Joyce Pearsall, they ran the Survey for 10+ years. With his work being too involved at the Cactus Hill site, he turned the Survey over to Wm Jack Hranicky, who ran it. The Survey was an independent organization dedicated to recording paleopoints found in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It relied on professional and amateur archaeologists, artifact collectors, and the interested general public for obtaining paleopoints for recording.
Book: 8 1/2 x 11in, B&W, 270 pages, references.
Prehistoric artifacts are object d’ antiques which contain its history of human manufacture and usage. Aside from the artifact, not everyone places values on history. Old artifacts are just that – old artifacts. Yet to others, old artifacts represent an ancient time and place which can only be visible via the artifacts. The artifact’s previous owner is somehow touchable through the artifacts. The artifact simply represents a time which may or may not be of interest to human beings living today. Those who maintain a fascination with prehistory usually find its products worthy of study and preserving them for the future.
One aspect of prehistory is the people who made Clovis points. These artifacts are some of the finest stone objects that were ever made by early humans. As such, appreciation of them becomes a desire to collect them. For some people, just one is sufficient; for others, the more I have the better. Since no two Clovis points are exactly alike, collecting them becomes an obsession to own the past. Regardless of motives, 95% of Virginia’s known Clovis points are in private collections. While many Clovis points are undocumented, the McCary Survey has recorded over 1000 paleopoints.
Does recording a paleopoint add to our knowledge; the answer is yes, but one paleopoint contributes very little data. Information about the point, in most cases, simply duplicates what we already know about paleopoints. And, one lone point does not make a history. When we start analyzing a 1000 or more, the prehistoric book opens in response to numerous questions about the collective nature of prehistoric artifacts. The when’s and where’s become time’s of the past – eventually histories.
Recording paleopoints is one stem at a time, by one contributor at a time. These contributions become the basis for archaeological investigations, which become additions to our knowledge base. While people differ in the value of these histories, the long term effect is an appreciation for those who contributed artifact data. For artifacts, we (owners and trustees) are temporary custodians; the temporary custodians will be replaced by new custodians, many of whom will be forgotten. While the artifact has lost contact with its ancient owner, it does contribute to the history of mankind.
Probably the most difficult factor to deal with in recording paleopoints is the direct reference by professional archaeologists that you cannot distinguish (recognize) non-Native paleopoints from modern fakes. True, some cases are difficult, but most are not. My thoughts are, if the archaeologist cannot make and use a Clovis point, then that individual should be barred from Paleoindian archaeology. If you really want to know if a point is a fake, go to collectors, not professional archaeologists. Of course, there are numerous exceptions; let’s say only nationally known archaeologists in Paleoindian studies.