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Projectile Points
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Thumbnail image of a MacCorkle point.Defining Attributes

MacCorkle points have a serrated blade with a bifurcate base and a lobed stem.

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The MacCorkle point dates to the Early Archaic period, although some archaeologists, following Gardner (1989), see the introduction of bifurcate base points as the beginning of the Middle Archaic. Justice (1987) suggests a date range of 9000 to 8500 BP (approximately 8250-7575 BC in calendar years), while Broyles (1971) places it between 8850 and 8750 BP (8000-7750 BC), based on the stratigraphic position of examples recovered at the St. Albans site in West Virginia. However, Bergman et al. (1998) note that a few dates clustering around 9300-9400 B.P (the earliest being 9420 +/- 90, or approximately 8750 BC calendar) have been associated with bifurcate base points in Pennsylvania and New York.


Blade: The blade is triangular, and has straight or slightly excurvate edges.  Serrations may be shallow or deep.  Point edges are thinned by many long, narrow flakes.  The flat blade faces have large, random flake scars.

Haft Element: The base is concave, and typically thinned with multiple small edge flakes on one face and a large single flake on the other face.  Some basal grinding occurs from shoulder to shoulder on most examples.  The stem is lobed and rounded, and finely chipped on the edges.

Size: Length ranges from 40 to 63 mm.  Width ranges from 22 to 35 mm.  Thickness ranges from 3 to 6 mm.  Stems range from 12 to 17 mm long and 18 to 26 mm wide.

Technique of manufacture: Soft percussion flaking, followed by pressure retouching around the basal notch and serrated blade.

Material: Cresthull (1972b) reported seven MacCorkle points from the Chance site on the Eastern Shore, with six made from chert/jasper and one chalcedony.  In the area surrounding Zekiah Swamp on the lower Potomac, Wanser (1982) found just three MacCorkles, all rhyolite.  In the Monocacy River drainage, 87% of 30 MacCorkle points were rhyolite and 13% quartzite (Kavanagh 1982).  Chert is the predominate material for MacCorkles in the middle Potomac River Valley, but other local stones such as quartzite and rhyolite are also used (Hranicky 2002).  In Delaware, bifurcate base points are commonly made from chert, jasper, and rhyolite (Custer 1996a).


The MacCorkle point is found east of the Mississippi from north Georgia to southern New York (Justice 1987).  It is the earliest of the bifurcate types, which together form a continuum dating from perhaps 8250 to 6650 BC (calendar years), and maybe even later in the Northeast.  Broyles (1971) sees the MacCorkle as a transitional type between the Kirk Corner Notched and the St. Albans.  MacCorkles have a bifurcated stem that lobes further out to both sides than do St. Albans points; however, Anderson (1991) sees the MacCorkle as just a large variant of the St. Albans.  Cresthull (1972b) notes that the MacCorkles from the Chance site in Somerset County, Maryland have shallower basal and side notches than those illustrated by Broyles (1971).  A similar point, the Nottoway River Bifurcate, was described by Painter (1970) in southern Virginia and North Carolina.

Defined in Literature

This type was originally defined from examples recovered at the St. Albans site in West Virginia (Broyles 1966; 1971).


Anderson 1991; Bergman et al. 1998; Broyles 1966; 1971; Cresthull 1972b; Custer 1996a; Gardner 1989; Hranicky 2002; Justice 1987; Kavanagh 1982; Painter 1970; Wanser 1982

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