Late Paleoindian period 10,500 to 10,000 years BP

The last subperiod, the Late Paleoindian, is characterized by Dalton points.  Some archaeologists would include side-notched forms in this subperiod; however, most include them as Early Archaic types.  The replacement of fluted point forms by non-fluted points is believed to reflect a change in the adaptive strategy, away from hunting Late Pleistocene megafauna toward a more generalized hunting of small, modern game, such as deer, and a collecting subsistence strategy within the southern pine forests as they replaced the boreal forests.

            Chert deposits may have attracted Paleoindian groups of this subperiod to specific locales in order to replenish their stone tools. Such a tendency may have constrained these groups to a specific landscape, setting the stage for the intensive regional specialization that characterized the succeeding Archaic Period. If this settlement pattern is true and if a preference for lithic materials did exist as a motivation for habitation locations along with the environment, then there should be some indication of it in the archaeological record. It is possible that large Paleoindian sites in the Southeast are permanent or semi-permanent base camps from which resources of specific territories were exploited. Trade or transportation of stone tools appears to decrease as Late Paleoindian groups relied on local materials for their needs. Nowhere in Georgia should this trend be more apparent than in Burke County, where Briar Creek chert resources are both abundant and of sufficient quality to influence tool and point manufacture. The SGA survey record, with admittedly some bias of availability of examples, shows the recovery of 120 Dalton points in Burke County and 77 in Columbia County, both located near the Briar Creek chert outcropping. Jefferson and Richmond Counties, both of which are near Briar Creek, have yielded Dalton points, but not in such large numbers. Other surrounding counties have likely used the Briar Creek stone resource as well, but it does seem that this high quality resource was at least a key consideration in settlement choice.

Greenbriar Dalton Colbert Dalton Hardaway Dalton  Nuckolls Dalton      Marianna   Ocmulgee Dalton Chattahoochee Dalton            

            Projectile points began to take on regional characteristics and at least eight different and distinct types of Dalton points developed over time. One of the first types to be recognized was the Greenbriar Dalton named by T.M.N. Lewis and Madeline Kneberg at the Green Briar area near Kentucky Lake, Tennessee in 1958. It was actually named at the Nuckolls site. The Colbert Dalton was named by David L. DeJarnette, Edward Karjack and James Cambron for Colbert County, Alabama. The Hardaway Dalton (far left) was identified by Joffre Coe in 1964 at the Hardaway site in North Carolina. The Nuckolls Dalton was named by Madeline Kneberg for the Nuckolls site in Humphrey County, Tennessee. The type may in fact be a resharpened Greenbriar Dalton point found throughout Georgia. The Marianna point was named by Ripley Bullen in 1975. Named for the town of Marianna, Florida, this may be an exhausted form of other Dalton types.

The tools of the Late Paleoindian period did not follow the pattern of quartz use. It is not certain why quartz was not used in tool manufacturing as it was used in later periods for scrapers. The tool assemblage of Late Paleoindian sites included pointed scrapers, side scrapers (page 29), triangular end scrapers (page 29), square scrapers, utilized flake knives, Waller Knives (page 27), Hendrix Scrapers (page 27), Edgefield Scrapers and core scrapers (page 28).

Pointed Side Scrapers


            The pointed side scraper is one of many descriptions given to side scraper tools and combinations of tools by David DeJarnette, Edward Kurjack, and James Cambron at the Stanfield-Worley site in Alabama. The tool is defined as having two steeply flaked scraping edges that come together at a point, usually at only one end. Most of these tools are developed from a single flake with the pointed end also being the bulb of percussion. The “pointed” feature of this name does not seem to have endured; however the side-scraper has a long history as a tool form.

These examples of side-scrapers with point ends were recovered during the Central Georgia Surface Survey. Three of the six examples were recovered from the Deep Creek site in Glasscock County, Georgia. The site also contained heavy concentrations of cultural material from Paleoindian to Historic periods, making it difficult to determine the cultural context of these tools. Site investigators at the Stanfield-Worley site concluded that early tool forms that were plano-convex in cross-section were more often purposefully made rather than randomly selected flakes used for tool usage. This conclusion suggests that, at least at that site, that these were very old tools.

Square Scrapers


Described at the Stanfield-Worley site as a category of scrapers not otherwise purposely flaked into other shapes, Square Scrapers (a above) are most often roughly rectangular in shape, but may also take other shapes including triangular. These tools are made from an entire flake rather than a fragment with a bulb of percussion opposite the bit end.

At the Stanfield-Worley site, Square scrapers were listed as part of the Dalton tool assemblage. A radiocarbon date for this zone was recorded at 9,640 =/- 450. The Union Camp site on Oconee River in Washington County contained three examples of this tool type along with two Greenbriar Daltons and 10 Early Archaic point types and 16 Middle Archaic points. There was only minimal evidence of Late Archaic and Woodland occupation ceramics in the site. The Rutland site in Wilcox County contained two examples with a significant number of point types from each archaeological period, but with little evidence of pottery. This may indicate that throughout each period, the site may have continued to be a special use site with a large number of tools. The low number of these tools recovered in central Georgia (only 9 in 172 sites) seems to indicate that this type saw limited use if any after the Early Archaic period.

Utilized Flake Knives


These examples are courtesy of private collectors.

Flake knives are percussion-made utilized flakes that often retain their bulb of percussion. They are unaltered, but show use as sharp cutting blades to be discarded soon after use. Examples of these blades were recovered at the Stanfield-Worley site where they were called Flake Knives. H. Trawick Ward (1993) referred to these knives as “utilized and retouched flakes” noting that they often display some amount of marginal retouching along the blade edges. Jerald Ledbetter (1995) notes that the retouch on these flakes was small and irregular localized flaking along the used portions of the flake. These were ad hoc cutting implements.

At the Modoc Rock Shelter (Fowler and Winters 1956) they were recovered from Zones 2 and 3, dating as early as 11,924 B.P. Examples of these blades were also recovered 23 centimeters below the Clovis occupation at the Cactus Hill site, dating to 18,000 calendar years B.P. Amazingly, these simple, yet ancient tools continued to be used in the Historic period as Gordon Willey’s recoveries at Parish Mound 3 in Hillsborough County demonstrate.

Edgefield Scrapers

James L. Michie[i] named this blade for Edgefield County, South Carolina, where twenty-one examples were recovered. Lyman O. Warren[ii] referred to this form as Piper-Fuller knives after recovering them at the Piper-Fuller Airfield in St. Petersburg, Florida. The type is known as the Albany Scraper in Louisiana.[iii]


The examples above are courtesy of private collections and the SGA point survey conducted by Jerald Ledbetter. The corner-notched Edgefield Scraper is courtesy of Mr. Leon Perry.

The Edgefield Scraper is a medium to large-sized blade ranging between 1.5 and 4.0 inches in length in its un-resharpened state. After rejuvenation, it averages from 1.25 to 2.5 inches long. The blade is unifacially flaked and plano-convex in cross-section before rejuvenation. It has convex edges and a broad distal end. The worked face of the blade is developed through random percussion flaking. Resharpening is done through diagonal beveling on the left side of the blade resulting in an asymmetrically triangular shape. The angle of the bevel across the thick blade averages about 60 degrees. The steep bevel, coupled with the occurrence of small step fractures along the blade edge resulting from heavy pressure during use, indicates that these blades were probably used for working bone.[iv] Step fractures are not evident on the un-resharpened form. The width of the hafting area, required to support this kind of pressure, also tends to support the bone working tool hypothesis.   The hafting area is usually side-notched (although some corner-notched forms are known) and bifacially worked, indicating that secure, uniform hafting was necessary. A smoothed, flat to convex basal edge is normal.

            Barbara Purdy’s placement of the Edgefield Scraper within the late Paleoindian tool kit is based on the side-notched and smoothed basal characteristics of the blade and hafting area. This temporal placement is supported by its recovery with Hendricks scrapers at the surface of the hardpan layer at the Piper-Fuller Airfield site.[v] It has been recovered in Texas with San Patrice points, in Georgia with Taylor points, and with Bolen points in Florida. These findings give the Edgefield Scraper a late Paleoindian to Dalton period association dating between 10,000 and 8,500 years BP.

            Its wide distribution from South Carolina to Texas and south to St. Petersburg, Florida indicates that the Edgefield Scraper was a very effective tool form.



Of the 166 sites surveyed by Mr. Perry, 32 of them contained 69 Late Paleoindian Dalton projectile points. Those 32 sites comprised 18.6% of the total number of sites surveyed by Mr. Perry and they occurred in ten different counties or 56% of the counties surveyed. Twenty-one of those sites contained less than three Dalton points each. The number of sites may be an indication that the population in Georgia was growing over the last 500 years of the Paleoindian period, but that the sites remained fairly small. The nearly 230 Dalton points recorded by the Society for Georgia Archaeology in Georgia, along with the variety of Dalton forms are both indicators that Paleo man was settling into and adapting to the various ecological systems in Georgia.

Late Paleoindian sites

Without listing all 21 of the sites containing less than three Dalton points, it can be assumed that the various Dalton point types were widely spread. Some types, like the Colbert Dalton, are fairly rare in Georgia. Sites containing those point types will be mentioned individually, otherwise, sites with three or more Dalton points will be addressed here.

The Rocky Comfort Creek Site, Glasscock County, Georgia

            The Rocky Comfort Creek site was located just east of the town of Gibson on highway 80 in Glasscock County, Georgia (Map 1D). The area of the site had been clear-cut of trees and was being prepared for replanting when Mr. Perry arrived at the site. Previous excavation had been done at the site by the University of Georgia and perhaps had been dug even earlier by local collectors, but collections from those excavations could not be located. Mr. Perry’s limited excavation was done at the edge of the field near the creek within the tree line of the creek.

Map 3A: The Rocky Comfort Creek Site

The site produced an amazing number of artifacts, 15 of which were Dalton points of various types belonging to the Late Paleoindian period. Seven of those points (including two bases) could be classified as Chattahoochee Daltons, two were of the Ocmulgee type, and the remaining six were Greenbriar types. Six of the points were made of quartz while the remaining nine were made of chert. The blade edge treatment varied between serration (5) and bifacial reshapening. One example (upper right) had a graver spur added.

The Deep Creek Site

Located about two miles downstream from the Rocky Comfort Creek site, the Deep Creek site was also the location of clear-cutting activity. The resulting field had been cleared and plowed in preparation for planting pines. Mr. Perry’s work was primarily carried out just outside the tree line along the creek, but also extended into the field for a short distance in an area where site debris could be seen.

            The Deep Creek and Rocky Comfort Creek sites were fairly close together (see Map 1C) and may have been alternately used by the same groups of people given the extensive use of the Rocky Comfort site as a possible base camp site with 15 Dalton points recovered with only a few tools while the Deep Creek site saw more extensive use as a work site based on the number of tools recovered there with only two Dalton points recovered.  

The Deep Creek site is interesting in that it contained two Late Paleoindian Dalton type points, a Clovis point from the Early Paleoindian period and what might be classified as Simpson and Suwannee bases from the Middle Paleoindian period. In fact, it contained examples of point types from every archaeological period from Clovis to the Guntersville and Madison points of the Historic period. Finding a site with such a continuous habitation pattern is rare indeed!

            Not until the Late Paleoindian period was there an extensive use of quartz in the manufacture of projectile points. There was no shortage of chert in the Washington or Glasscock County sites, yet the Late Paleoindian people chose to use quarts in many cases and especially in the case of the site at Rocky Comfort Creek, where six of the 15 Dalton points recovered were quartz, because a vein of quartz ran right through the site. Crystalline and milky quartz had both been used for the manufacture of Clovis points at sites that date as early as Cactus Hill in Virginia, but the vast majority of Early and Middle Paleoindian points recovered in Georgia where made of chert with only a handful of points made of quartz. One can only speculate at the reason why, but the fact that projectile points of the Late Paleoindian period were generally smaller than earlier points may have lead to the change in materials.

The tools of the Late Paleoindian period did not follow the pattern of quartz use. It is not certain why quartz was not used in tool manufacturing as it was used in later periods for scrapers. The tool assemblage of the Deep Creek site included (top row, left to right) pointed scrapers, side and triangular end scrapers, square scrapers, (row two left to right) flake knives, Waller Knives, and a Hendrix Scraper. The tool assemblage of the Rocky Comfort Creek site included two Edgefield Scrapers, a square scraper, a Waller knife, a side scraper, an end scraper, and a core scraper, but in general, the site produced far fewer tools than the Deep Creek site, yet with many more points. One might conclude that the Deep Creek site may have been a work site for butchering and hide preparation while the Rocky Comfort site may have been a base camp site. No harth features or fire-cracked rocks were encountered during the survey in either site.

The Pool Road Site, Washington County, Georgia

            The Pool Road site in Washington County is unique in that it contained a variety of Dalton forms and that it contained ten points, more than any other site in the survey. Six of the ten examples could be classified as Chattahoochee Daltons while the others were Greenbriar and Ocmulgee Dalton types. Even in those sites with less than two points the types were often different, suggesting that type forms were either selected based on a personal preference or on the type of hafting material used.

            Rejuvenation techniques also seemed to be a matter of personal preference or use requirements. Ocmulgee Daltons are most often found with serrations while Chattahoochee Daltons are recovered with both serrated and bi-facial resharpening. Colbert Daltons like those found at the Rutland Field site and the Ten Mile Creek site, both in Wilcox County, are most often found with bi-facial rejuvenation in Georgia while in Alabama are frequently found with serrated blade edges.  

Sun Hill Creek hwy 242 E. Anderson

            The Sun Hill Creek site is located along Highway 242 East in Washington County, Georgia. The property belonged to the Anderson family at the time Mr. Perry’s survey was taken. The site yielded only 107 artifacts, but among them were seven examples of Late Paleoindian projectile points. All but one of those points could probably be classified as the Chattahoochee type.

Burke County Bull Branch site

            As mentioned above, the Bull Branch site was a plowed field when Mr. Perry arrived there. The site is located near the bridge that crosses Bull Branch Creek just off Sanderford Road in Burke County. The site only contained 29 recorded artifacts. Among them was a fluted Clovis base, a Kirk Corner Notched point, a Hendrix Scraper and a Screven Scraper of a much later period. Even the Hendrix Scraper may not have been associated with the Paleoindian period.

           The site produced three Dalton points from the Late Paleoindian period, an Ocmulgee Dalton, a Chattahoochee Dalton and, perhaps a Beaver Lake point or a second Chattahoochee Dalton (right). Even among these few examples, the variety of design among point types is apparent. The degree of experimentation in hafting design that was taking place is clearly seen.


The Johnson County Landing Site, Johnson County, Georgia


Map 3B: The Johnson County Landing site


The Johnson County Landing site in Johnson County, Georgia was located just north of the actual landing along a high ridge that ran along the Oconee River. The site was particularly interesting in that it contained not only Late Paleoindian artifacts, but 613 total artifacts from each of the archaeological time periods up to and including the Historic period. In fact, the Historic period included a Creek home site that dated between 1750 and 1800.

            The Late Paleoindian Dalton points could all be grouped together as Chattahoochee Dalton points, yet the variation in hafting design was again apparent, even among a single point type. While the distal ends of each point had been broken off, the points appeared to have averaged between 2 and 2.5 inches in length.



In each segment of the Paleoindian period, the small settlements of the period have had to adapt to a changing environment. Their location, usually associated with a reliable fresh water resource, allowed them to take advantage of the changing small game as the large megafauna disappeared from the scene. Their hunting-gathering lifeway made use of the wild nuts and plants available to them. Their lithic development demonstrated changing needs and the adaptation of new ideas in technology. Their use of exotic and local stone resources may have indicated a combination of extensive trade and/or travel throughout the region. The artifactual evidence from other sites of the period also gave us a glimpse of the perishable materials and skills used by these early hunters as they lived across the southeastern United States during a period of extreme climate change from a glacial presence to the pine forests of today.


[i] Michie, James L., The Edgefield Scraper, The Chesapiean, Vol. 6, 1968:30

[ii] Warren, Lyman O., Unique Knife or Chisel, Piper-Fuller Airfield, St. Petersburg, The Florida Anthropologist, Vol. 26:3, 1973:119-120

[iii] Webb, Clarence H., Two Unusual Chipped Stone Artifacts from Northwest Louisiana, Bulletin of the Texas Archaeological and Paleoindian Anthropological Society, 1946:9

[iv] Purdy, Barbara A., Florida’s Prehistoric Stone Technology: A Study of the Flintworking Technique of Early Florida’s Implement Makers, University of Florida, Gainesville, 1981:26-28

[v] Warren, Lyman O., Unique Knife or Chisel, Piper-Fuller Airfield, St. Petersburg, The Florida Anthropologist, Vol. 26:3, 1973