MHT Re-establishes the Maryland Fluted Point Survey

By Zac Singer, MHT Research Archaeologist

I am pleased to announce that the Office of Archaeology at the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) is re-establishing the Maryland Fluted Point Survey (MDFPS), which was first formalized in the late 1960s by Tyler Bastian, Maryland’s first State Archaeologist. The Maryland Fluted Point Survey will compile data on the distinctive projectile points created by the early Native Americans known to archaeologists as Paleoindians. This data will be synthesized to study the lifeways of the Paleoindians who lived in Maryland during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Middle Paleo Point

Middle Paleo Point, from Brown 1979, Fluted Projectile Points in Maryland.

As a homegrown Marylander and Paleoindian researcher, reinvigorating the Maryland Fluted Point survey has been a long-time goal of mine. Dr. Bob Wall at Towson University first introduced me to the field of Paleoindian studies. I completed high school and college internships, during which I studied the likely Paleoindian materials recovered from deep test excavation units at the Barton Site (18AG3) in Allegany County. I continued to study the Paleoindian occupations of Eastern North America while earning my Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. During my graduate studies, one of my graduate advisors, Dr. Jonathan Lothrop, Curator of Archaeology at the New York State Museum, launched the New York Paleoindian Database Project (NYPID) to continue the statewide fluted point survey in New York begun in the 1950s by Dr. William A. Ritchie. After seeing the exciting data being generated by NYPID and also by the Paleoindian Database of the Americas (PIDBA), I resolved to re-launch the Maryland Fluted Point Survey when given the opportunity.

3D Photogrammetry
For those who aren’t familiar with fluted points, included in this announcement are links to 3D models of two Paleoindian fluted points found in Maryland. These models were produced using a process called 3D Photogrammetry and we are making the files available in a number of formats. If you own a 3D printer, you can even download an STL model file to print your own 3D copy of these points.

  • This fluted point from the Richard Gates Slattery collection is likely a Late Paleoindian Dalton projectile point made of orthoquartzite.
  • You can download a copy of the model which you can move and manipulate in Adobe Acrobat Reader by right-clicking the link HERE and saving the PDF file to your computer. NOTE: the model will not work from your web browser.
  • You can download a copy of the model to replicate it on your 3D Printer by clicking HERE.

  • This fluted point from the Paul Cresthull collection is an Early Paleoindian Clovis point made of jasper.
  • You can download a copy of the model which you can move and manipulate in Adobe Acrobat Reader by right-clicking the link HERE and saving the PDF file to your computer. NOTE: the model will not work from your web browser.
  • You can download a copy of the model to replicate it on your 3D Printer by clicking HERE.

History of the Maryland Fluted Point Survey
The very first issue of Maryland Archeology in 1965 included a survey of fluted points by M. D. Dilks and G. M. Reynolds. Beginning with the establishment of the Division of Archeology at the Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) in 1968, Tyler Bastian formalized a fluted point data form to compile information on Maryland fluted points that were reported to him through his role as the first Maryland State Archaeologist. In 1979, Lois Brown organized the fluted point data at the MGS and documented additional fluted points in the artifact collections of avocational archaeologists to produce a synthesis on 71 fluted points recovered throughout Maryland. Rick Ervin, archaeologist with the State Highway Administration, took on the stewardship of the Maryland Fluted Point Survey in the late 1980s. In the early 2000s, Ervin relinquished oversight of the Maryland Fluted Point Survey to MHT.

Goals of the Maryland Fluted Point Survey

  • Data generated by the Maryland Fluted Point Survey will be synthesized to study the lifeways of the Paleoindians who lived in Maryland between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago.
  • Fluted points will be recorded systematically to include their history of discovery and ownership, locational information, fluted point type, and stone raw material. Digital photographs and detailed measurements of the fluted points will also be collected.
  • These data will be synthesized to generate a chronological and geographic overview of Paleoindian occupations in Maryland. Chronological comparisons will be made based on fluted point typology. Land use strategies will be investigated through geo-spatial comparisons of provenience within physiographic regions and on the county-level. Trends in raw material use and mobility throughout the Paleoindian period in Maryland also will be examined.

Call for Data
All Archeological Society of Maryland (ASM) members, avocational archaeologists, Paleoindian researchers, professional archaeologists, and interested members of the general public are asked to contribute to this effort by sharing information on Maryland fluted points in public and private collections. Dr. Zachary Singer, MHT Research Archaeologist, will coordinate the Maryland Fluted Point Survey and meet with informants to record data and photograph each fluted point. Fluted point data recording sessions can take place at the MHT Offices in Crownsville, at ASM chapter or annual meetings, or at another location convenient for the contributor.

As Maryland Fluted Point Survey forms are completed, the data will be entered into an electronic database. County-level provenience data will be made accessible to the public through MDFPS web links and through the Paleoindian Database of the Americas (PIDBA) site. Strict confidentiality will be maintained with regard to precise site locations and collection ownership information to protect these resources.

Many people have contributed information to the Maryland Fluted Point Survey since the survey’s inception in the late 1960’s and their help is much appreciated! It is hoped that the re-established Maryland Fluted Point Survey will provide an outlet for scholars, professional archaeologists, avocational archaeologists, and interested members of the public to document and learn about Maryland’s early Native American inhabitants.

5 thoughts on “MHT Re-establishes the Maryland Fluted Point Survey

  1. I have not been fortunate enough to find a paleo point, but I have two paleo knives found in Baltimore County. If you are interested in seeing them, let me know.

  2. Just the right sort of blog post: short enough to be readily digestible, long enough to convey the key elements, detailed enough so the reader can act on the information. Best of all: passes the grammar test. Nicely done, archaeologists [or is it “archeologists”?]

  3. Pingback: Maryland Paleoindian Sites on the National Register of Historic Places: A Newly Reported 13,000 Year Old Fluted Point from the Katcef Site – Our History, Our Heritage

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