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Thread: Limace

  1. #1
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    Limace

    A limace looks something like a cigar cut in half lengthwise. It's a French name carried over into American archaeology because the French had already recognised it as a tool form and named it long before we caught up with them in the matter of recognising the significance of artifacts that weren't projectile points. In French, it means "(garden) slug."

    In at least the eastern part of North America, from the Canadian Maritimes down through Tennessee (if not further), limaces seem to have been a (Middle) Paleo horizon marker. (The question of whether they continued into the Early Archaic is bedeviled by there being no agreement as to when this began and what its distinguishing characteristics are. Defining the onset of it by climate change, technological change and adaption strategy produces three different answers).

    Like several other Paleo tool forms, a limace was as much what resulted at one stage in a reduction continuum as it was a purposely made-from-scratch tool, as evidenced by variations in outline from oblong or football-shaped examples to end stage forms with parallel sides. Oftentimes one or both ends were pointed ; other times they were shaped into endscrapers (as this one was) or gravers (as in my avatar picture). They are (to my mind at least) to be distinguished from the fairly common Early Archaic elongated triangular endscraper by their parallel sides and showing sequential removals from their edges, giving them a rounded cross-section. As with this one, their proximal ends are sometimes end-thinned (probably for hafting).

    This particular example is 2.5" long, 1" wide and made on a torqued (twisting) flake, 0.5" at its thickest point. The material may be blue-grey Flintridge or a high grade of grey Upper Mercer.

    Find location, for now, was presumably somewhere in Ohio. It arrived two days ago in the mail with some other tools sent by a friend who lives there. I keep watching for his reply to my twenty questions about what he sent but he must be out hunting arrowheads or something. I'll let you know when he lets me know.

    PS : Thank You, Gibby !!!!!!!!!!!
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    Last edited by uniface; 05-29-2011 at 09:43 AM.
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  3. #2
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    A great sequel to your previous post about Limaces. Your comparison with the Early Archaic triangular elongated scraper was personally helpful. Thank you.

  4. #3
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    A couple personal finds from southeast WV and a Buffalo River chert example from Tn.

    Nice one uni, great looking piece of material.
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  5. #4
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    West of the Mississippi, all bets are off.

    http://luna.ku.edu:8180/luna/servlet...t/where/Young/

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  8. #7
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    I am glad you like it Uni. I thought you would.
    When I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone.

  9. #8
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    I think even east of the Mississippi all bets are off without a better description of the tool. There are some limaces that are domed (rounded) that are clearly archaic, and there are others, like the one that you posted, that have a more triangular cross section. I have no evidence to support it, but I think those triangular ones are paleo.

    Here is a link to some cave finds from Kentucky with archaic limaces.

    Archaic Toolkit Cache
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  10. #9
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    The Treasurenet link you posted confuses me, Joshua. It was nice to see the Early Archaic points again, but there's nothing in that assemblage that I'd identify as a Limace, unless that term were stretched to the point where it encompassed nearly any sidescraper form. (?)

    Since we're on TN images,
    Little Limaces and the Swiss Army Knife Again
    illustrates three artifacts I would peg as small Limaces, along with the new one that started the thread and my avatar picture. I.e., here in the US, the final form has more or less parallel sides, up-&-over flaking showing sequential reduction at increasingly high angles, sides more or less @ 90 degrees, and ends converging to points unless hafted or modified into endscrapers (as this Ohio one is) or graver spurs (avatar pic).

    Back when Doc Gramly published his book on Paleoindian tools, he noted (from memory) that it was unclear whether or not Limaces persisted into the Early Archaic era ; until the Kansas Woodland-Mississippian link came along, all the citations I've posted (mostly elsewhere here) are congruent with them being Middle- to Late Paleo (again, at least east of the Mississippi). And while it doesn't prove anything, I've never seen one in Archaic or later site assemblages / collections. Or, for that matter, in Dalton stuff like the tool form pictures Pete Bostrum has posted on his site. (Which doesn't mean they don't exist, only that I don't "see" any of them being Limaces, although at least one and maybe several of Ghost's might be, depending on where you set the parameters, or might be convergent endscrapers on their way to being limaces).

    Sorry for the wordiness -- it's an attempt at precision.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuaream View Post
    I think even east of the Mississippi all bets are off without a better description of the tool. There are some limaces that are domed (rounded) that are clearly archaic, and there are others, like the one that you posted, that have a more triangular cross section. I have no evidence to support it, but I think those triangular ones are paleo.

    Here is a link to some cave finds from Kentucky with archaic limaces.

    Archaic Toolkit Cache

    I agree and have noticed that the earlier ones are triangular in cross section with more skillfull pressure flaking along the edges. I went through a container of tools last night and pulled out the limace shaped pieces. These are from Putnam co. Tn., points associated were mainly late archaic to woodland although some earlier uniface knives and Beaver Lake points were also found on this multicomponent site.

    Also found this link with some nice examples from well west of the Mississippi, Alaska and Washington state.Interesting one of these pieces is similar to the Tn. piece I posted.

    http://www.alaskanartifacts.com/Thum...rs/Limace.html
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