“It was a digging tool, probably to dig up roots,” observes Silvio. “You can tell it was shaped intentionally because of these marks. See. Another stone was used to chip away at this and give it this shape. The river where you found this would not do that. I recognize the pattern. This is a tool.”
Tuesday, 3:30 PM. A customer from Waterville stopped by to discuss an arrow point she had brought to Silvio a while back, asking that he think about turning it into a pendant. Soon, the conversation turned to artifacts and the customer remembered a stone she had found on a Lamoille river bank and had meant to show Silvio. It was in the car. She brought it in.
“See this one,” he says, pulling a larger, similarly shaped stone from the display case for comparison. “It was shaped in the same way, with the same pecking technique known thousands of years ago. This is the same type of material as yours. It’s basalt. It comes from volcanic formations in Canada and was dragged down here thousands of years ago with erosion from the glaciers.”
“How do you know it is at least a thousand years old?” asks the customer. “More recent tools are not shaped as well. They are a lot more crude,” replies Silvio. “The surface on these is very carefully shaped and softened.” After a moment, Silvio turns is attention to other stone tools he has around the shop.
He picks one that is considerably smaller than the ones we had been discussing and remarks, smiling, “I found this scraper tool at Crystal Lake, near Barton. There’s something about these tools. When you hold them, they immediately fit naturally.”
There is a unique characteristic that is common to all man-made scraping tools such as the ones Silvio discussed today. Ask him about this next you’re in the village.
On the workbench, an obsidian arrowhead pendant is taking shape.