Religion & Spirituality

A New Lithic Resource in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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A potentially new and undocumented lithic resource has been discovered in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This material has been named Misery Bay Chert (MBC) by the author. While more research is needed it appears thus far that this new high quality
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  A Preliminary Examination of a Previously Undescribed Lithic Resource on the WesternBorder of the Keweenaw Peninsula.  Recent field investigations along the western shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the vicinity of Misery Bay(Upper Peninsula of Michigan) have revealed a potentially previously undescribed prehistoric lithic resource.This material from here forward will be referred to as Misery Bay Chert, or MBC. This new material appears to be eroding from a highly weathered concentration of dolomitic (or similar) limestone offshore. The materialshows itself as a fairly common small cobble along the shoreline. In natural form these small cobbles appear to be white (where the parent material hasn’t been completely worn away), orange to brown in other examples,and in most, a combination of both. MBC is by all standards fairly common once one learns to identify the material in the midst of the more prevalent basalt, porphyry, gabbro, rhyolite, granite, and gneiss. Many pieces are too small or irregular to beuseful to prehistoric man, but nearly every walk along the beaches produces one or more pieces of MBC thatcan be easily utilized. Given the availability of MBC and the lithic-poor nature of the Upper Midwest it would be difficult to believe this rich resource escaped the eyes of prehistoric man. The immediate future will require examination of stone artifacts collected in Northern Wisconsin as well asthe Upper Peninsula. While collections from this area are rare they do exist. I strongly suspect that MBC will be present in these northern collections and perhaps even elsewhere if the material was used during the Paleo period.Fig. 1A random sampling of MBC nodules collected along Misery Bay, Houghton County Michigan. It is also noteworthy to mention that the quality of MBC is far above many lithic sources. When a suitablesized piece is found it can easily be reduced to a useful tool. It has excellent knapping qualities and is oftenfairly free from quartz pockets, cracks, and other flaws. Good pieces of MBC are on par in terms of quality withthose more famous materials from Illinois and the Ohio River Valley.  Fig. 2 Left, a medium sized bifacemade from MBC using percussionflaking in just a couple of minutes.Fig. 3 Above, a slabbed MBC nodule showing some of the variation in colors commonly found. Note the lighter colors found near the outside of the nodule.
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