The story of an amazing Andice Eccentric - The Trippin' Andice

Amazing is such an over used word in the collecting field but there's just not another word that starts to describes this.

Texas is a big state with a lot of fantastic artifacts. Even with all the fantastic things out there, I think an undamaged Andice may be one of the most rare artifacts in the state. One thing that is even more rare than a complete Andice point is a complete Andice point made into an Eccentric. Andice Eccentrics, often considered to be practice pieces, are rare in any form and were usually made on a piece that had been broken during manufacture. You can imagine how frustrating it must have been to notch the famous Andice ears, with the thin, deep notch getting wider on the inside than at the edge. So when one was broken the knapper would sometimes make a practice notch or two in the broken piece.

In the summer of 2008 I heard about an amazing Andice Eccentric being found by a friend in South Texas. This eccentic was said to be made on a whole point. After hearing about it I couldn't wait to see it in person.

Even so, I wasn't at all prepared for what I saw when Cody pulled this thing out!

Here is Cody Tripp of Bandera, Texas with his recently found Andice Eccentric!

Cody said he has dug his whole life to find this point. He's been digging some of the most prime South Texas dig sites since he was a kid, probably putting in over 10,000 hours of digging. Even so, the odds of finding this point were a lot like the odds of winning the lottery.

About seven thousand years ago a primitive Texan sat down at a camp fire built on a burnt rock midden in what is now South Texas and proceeded to make this artifact. He probably went thru the whole process, beginning by hunting the high terrain nearby in order to gather the highest quality local flint which he then masterfully worked into a big thin preform, complete with diagon thinning strikes. The preform would have been a work of art in itself. Then it appears that an Andice point or what we might have even called a Bell point was completed, which would have surely been a valuable commodity to this Tribe of Early Hunter-Gatherers. Regardless of that value, for some reason, this near perfect point was then sacraficed by punching deep notches in the side. Even more notches were added, at least 26 in all. One has to wonder what he was thinking when he knapped it, was he really practicing or was he just showing off? Was he the master knapper teaching school? Was it made for cerimonial use, maybe even used when they were tripping on peyote cactus? In no way can one imagine a utilitarian justification for this class of artifact!

At some later point it was either lost or cached at an ancient rendezvous site near the river. Now here Cody was the first person to lay eyes on it for all those thousands of years. One can only imagine actually finding something like this.

These photos show both sides. As you can see Cody has wisely left the point much as it was found.
There will be plenty of time to was it later if he decides to, meanwhile there is no doubt in any educated mind that this is an actual prehistoric artifact.

This handheld photo illustrates just how big this Trippin Point is!

Andice is considered to be part of the Calf Creek culture which inhabited the Southern part of the middle of North America. The States most recognized to have Calf Creek related points are Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. In Texas, the generally smaller Bell points with less deeply notched ears seem to have followed contemporarily and directly behind Andice in Central Texas.

Andice was named for the type site at what is now called the Gault site near the sleepy little town of Andice, Texas. Now World famous for the Clovis and potential for Pre-Clovis cultural deposits, the prolific site was first professionally excavated in an Archaic burnt rock midden component by James E. Pearce, a pioneering Texas archeologist, in 1929-1930. It was in these early excavations that Andice points were named, even before the overall Calf Creek culture was recognised elsewhere.

Andice is recognized as having the deepest ear notching of any point type, so deep that examples with two complete ears are very rarely encountered.

Parting shot of Cody showing Dr. Clayton Vandergriff the amazing Andice Eccentic.
His excitement is still evident by the big smile he can't quite hide from the camera.

The Calf Creek culture made these crazy eccentrics where ever Andice, Bell or Calf Creek points are found. As noted earlier they are usually just practice notches in discarded pieces of failed lithics. That is what makes this obviously complete piece so unique! It seems as if a whole Andice point may have been converted into a teaching aid for a class of prehistoric knappers, some 7,000 years ago. Hey, maybe this lithic type represent our earliest textbooks?

It is interesting to note that in Texas there are also notched eccentrics found along with base notched points points such as Castroville and other archaic types. This method of punch notch practicing may represent a cultural continuation of several thousand years here, which would read something like Andice, Bell, Bulverde, Williams, Castroville, Marshall, Pedernales ... some of the latter cultures exhibiting fine knapping abilities, but none approaching the eccentricity of the deep notched barbs that Andice points are famous for.

I would like to thank Cody Tripp for his willingness to share this find with the visitors to this site. Like many Texas collectors, Cody has a deep desire to share his knowledge of the prehistoric past with those who seek to explore prehistory. I just think it's a shame that BOONE & CROCKETT doesn't score Andice Points!

References Cited:

Turner & Hester

Timothy K Perttula et al

Gregory Perino

Shannon Grahm

Cody Tripp, Paul Olsen, Darrell Crain & Clayton Vandergriff
Texas Artifact Collectors

Lyle Nickle
Oklahoma Artifact Collector

Photos & Text (c)2010 David Crain /

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