The North Carolina

 

 

 

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Visit Badin

Visit Badin

by Badin Town Manager, Jay Almond

 

Cultural mysteries of North Carolina’s earliest inhabitants will be explained January 9, through April 30, 2009 in the Town of Badin, North Carolina, when a presentation of rare Native American artifacts opens to the public.

 

Excavated from a section of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin called the Hardaway site, the collection crowns Badin as home to one of the most significant archeological finds in the southeastern United States.

 

As such, the Badin Historic Museum will display the exhibit for three months at no charge to visitors before the unrivaled, comprehensive record of the Paleo-Indian period (circa 10,000-8,000 BC) sets off on a tour of regional museums.

 

Consisting of more than 1.5 million Paleo-Indian artifacts, the complete Hardaway collection includes a distinct design of spear point or projectile point hunting tool known as the Hardaway point.

 

Among other tools, the collection also includes various scrapers, animal bone shards and fragments and chipped stone tools.

 

Excavation in 1937 by then director of research and anthropology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (UNC), Joffre L. Coe, and a local collector named Herbert M. Doerschuk, an employee of Carolina Aluminum Company at that time (now ALCOA) and namesake of another area site discovery, shed light on a segment of human history secreted in one of few stratified sites in the entire state.

 

From the late 1940s to the late 1950s (1948-1959) and again from 1975-1980, UNC archeologists located, removed and catalogued all the artifacts they could find.

Prior to the late 1930s dig, artifacts were sporadically discovered and traded by residents in and around Badin, many of them local youth.

 

As a result, several highly secreted private collections expanded in the hands of local collectors, some of whom created in-home displays reminiscent of typical museum style. The dig site is currently private property and is protected under penalty of law that may include criminal prosecution.

 

The official display collection, however, was compiled from about 15 tons of artifacts donated to UNC along with $225,000 by the Alcoa Foundation for development of a traveling exhibit.

 

That collection, known as The Ancient Carolinians, has been on display at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill and will travel according to guidelines and decrees established by the university.

 

The Paleo-Indian period includes the end of an era that includes the oldest discovered spear points in the United States. The oldest known are called Clovis points and are named for the location of the dig site from which they were excavated in Clovis, New Mexico.

 

The Ancient Carolinians focuses on the civilization responsible for and reliant on Hardaway points, of which there are three classified variations.

 

The Hardaway is similar to the Clovis but is set apart by deep notching and more pronounced arms at the base of the spear points.

 

The Hardaway-Dalton is shorter in design and possesses deeper base notching.

 

The Hardaway side-notch is defined by a heavily triangular shape and the most pronounced side notching of the three, which is also the most pronounced side-notching of any spear point identified in the Paleo-Indian or pre Paleo-Indian periods.

 

The Hardaway point crafters’ favored medium was Volcanic Rhyolite, a rock formation indigenous to Morrow Mountain, now a state park along the Yadkin-Pee Dee River.

 

Rhyolite shaped more accurately and more consistently under the crafters’ chipping stones than other available rocks and minerals.

 

Although the mountain was rich in the choice volcanic product, the bulk of Hardaway points were discovered miles from that source.

 

The decision to farm Rhyolite in one location and fashion projectile points in another may have been associated with the spawning of Shad in certain sections of the river.

 

In fact, tracing the history of these ancient Carolinians is possible primarily due to their tendency to trail back to choice spots along the river where hunting was prosperous.

 

Those areas, both the Doerschuk and Hardaway sites, are of tremendous historical importance and have provided the archeological record with previously unknown details regarding the transition from the Paleo-Indian period into the early stages of the Archaic era (circa 4,000-3,000 BC).

 

 

 

email - jayalmond@badin.org

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