The Black Wood point.

The piney woods of East Texas hold a wide variety of lithic materials. A lot of points and tools made of petrified wood can be found, indeed there are a few made of agatized materials that will often rival almost anything for their gemlike qualities. On the other hand, the more common coursely grained petrified wood pieces were hard to work with and were often used for somewhat crudely made strictly utilitarian pieces.

That's what is so surprising about this large San Jacinto county biface found by Joeseph Black. This young man found one of the most expertly flaked pieces that I have ever seen. It's ancient maker was obviously a very proud, expert craftsman who didn't mind a challenge! This piece rivals anything I've seen made of any material, much less made of a piece of common course grained petrified wood.

The first side showing the beautiful pressure flaking that created this piece. The ancient craftsman took full advantage of the many colors that the petrified wood holds.

This edge view edge gives one an idea of how thin this piece was for it's length.

These photos show the flaking on the other Side. The hafting area consist of the cortex of the material. It is ground smooth for about 1-1/2" of the lower edge of the blade.

The other edge also exhibits how thin this piece was for it's length.

This is an incredibly well made East Texas artifact. Judging by the high quality pressure flaking and edge grinding I believe it is a paleo piece. My opinion is that it is possible that is was made by the same Cody Complex people who made artifacts like this Scottsbluff point in East Texas approximately 9,000 years ago. Others think that it has more Angostura traits. At 4-9/16" long x 1-1/8" wide it is similar in size and feel to an early stage Scottsbluff Knife. The smooth base and lower edges certainly give it a paleo feel.

There have been a few other finely made East Texas artifacts similar to this one that are called Bronson Bifaces by some local collectors. Unlike the crudely made Late Prehistoric Bronsons shown in the archaeological reports, these finely made petrified wood pieces appear to have been made by Paleo people. It is possible that they are Late Prehistoric, perhaps the Caddo related people in this area made them as they certainly had the ability to pressure flake like this. We can only guess who made this type until it is found in context with other artifacts.

I wish to thank my friend Don Black for allowing me to study and record this very unique artifact.

Regardless of how we type the Black Wood point, it is a world class artifact. What a great find!

References Cited:

Turner & Hester

Mr. Don Black
Personal communications

Mr. Sammy Ray
Personal communications

Photos & Text (c) David Crain /

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