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Arkfeld's Sculptured Baby Mammoth on a Calcite Base

Red Ochre Covering on an Arkfeld Large Triangle, Clarke County, Virginia

Pleistocene Archaeology in Virginia:

The Arkfeld Site

By Wm Jack Hranicky RPA

With the discovery and dating of the Cinmar bipoint off the Continental shelf of Virginia, the prehistory of the U.S. Atlantic coast has been pushed back thousands of years. In addition to this discovery, numerous nation-wide sites now argue that the human presence has a considerable antiquity in the U.S. In order to further this hypothesis, a site was needed that offers the prospect of a bipoint-buried horizon that dates before Clovis. This report presents extensive surface-collected artifacts, site testing, and limited excavations from the Arkfeld site in Virginia which offers an insight to the Pleistocene occupation in Virginia and the U.S. The report illustrates and discusses main site areas all of which is called Arkfeld paleosite in Frederick/Clarke County, Virginia. It is essentially a quarry tool production area which produced a distinctive toolset. While stone quarrying is the basic focus, clay mining, bitumen coating, and stone figurine production are also the result of the site’s investigation and study. The site represents the first known site in the Western Hemisphere of Pleistocene era that has firing of clay. The site’s artifacts and processes indicate an Old World legacy from the Paleolithic era. The site has tools forms that are unreported in the eastern U.S.

Webmaster: Wm Jack Hranicky, RPA, Archaeologist

Book: 8 1/2 x 11 in, B&W, 233 pages, references.

Tool Classification: The typing, classifying, and analysis of Arkfeld implements is a multi-variant approach based on Old World morphologies and chronologies. As the site is argued to date to the Pleistocene era, there are no acceptable tool classes/types published by American archaeologists. This site report offers a blade analogy approach with a multitude styles and assumed functions. Also, these tool classes were made from various stones that are not the standard lithics of the Holocene, namely shale and limestone.

Site Classification: The Arkfeld site (44FR731) is near Clear Brook in Frederick County, Virginia and is classified in this report as a Pleistocene occupation in the northern Shenandoah River valley. It is a quarry processing site for limestone and shale. Additionally, it has an extensive function as an artform creation location, namely mammoth and bear effigies. Numerous tools are coated with bitumen that is argued as a division of tool owners by class status, or tools for special hunting conditions. The complex has an affinity to the Paleolithic of Europe. The basic stone technology is a blade toolmaking technique which is basically a Levalloisian method. With the presence of unique artforms and artifacts coated with red ochre, there are suggested ceremonial practices and areas. Mega-tools suggest large game hunting, such as the mammoth, which is the principle artform. This site has no Holocene artifacts on it.

Major Topics:

  • Pleistocene archaeology
  • Blade technology
  • Limestone and shale tool production
  • Pleistocene dates
  • Pleistocene artwork and effigies
  • Old World tool legacy
  • Quarry operations
  • Ceramic production and firing
  • Excavations
  • Mammoth artworks
  • Burins, perforator, scrapers, etc.
  • Triangle forms
  • Red ochre usage
  • Mega knives and choppers
  • Bitumen usage.