PAINT STONES

 Paintstone 

Pieces of hematite and limonite were picked up by the Indians for use as paint.  The red slip on pottery types like Etowah Red Filmed and Kasita Red Filmed were from this source.  The stone was scraped, rubbed, or abraded to reduce the material to a powder that could be used as pigment.  The red colored hematite could be applied directly or mixed with fat and stored for later use.  The source material rock will show signs of scraping that will distinguish it from other unused stones.  The hematite source stones are heavier than other stones because of the red colored iron that is in them.  The amount of scraping will vary from stone to stone depending on how heavily they were used.  This will make many examples difficult to identify in the soil.  Rubbing may occur on many surfaces of the stone causing it to be faceted.  Paint stones have been recovered from Paleoindian to Historic period sites and are not diagnostic to any period.

Most pait stones in Georgia are hematite-filled geodes that, when broken open, contain the soft red or yellowish-orange ochre that is used in the same was as described above.

Finally,, on rare occasions, you may encounter a small storage vesses used to store paint.  The stone pictured above was perforated and them worked with a chisel to use for storage.  Shells are also used in a similar way and have been found to contain paint resedue.