IMAGES OF BELEN PROJECTILES

One of the characteristics of a Belen point is the base is often plano-convex in cross-section (above line drawing). The flat face was usually a result of not removing some of the large soft-hammer biface thinning flakes with finishing pressure flakes. This asymmetrical cross-section is the exception to my rule that original points were symmetrical in cross-section. This is discussed in more detail at the end of the measurement section.


Now the Images

Image 1 This is the black & white point on the introductory page. It is complete, but resharpened. More than likely it was originally twice as long as it is now. The outside edge (in either image) has been reworked. This is evident by the lack of lateral edge grinding on this edge, but grinding is present on the other edge and basal concavity. Additionally, the medial ridge is on the left side of center in the right image. It has been moved to the left of center by the resharpening process which also created the diagonal flake scars on the blade. Diagonal scars are not characteristic of Belen points. In the center of the blade in the left image are remnants of the bifacial work that was not removed by the final pressure shaping flakes. This makes the point plano-convex in this area of the point, however, the base is symmetrical in cross-section. The point was made from Cumbres Pass chert.

(click on the small images for larger ones)

Image 2 This is the base of one of the wider Belens. It is also a classic example of the plano-convex cross-section. Note the large, percussion, biface thinning flakes in the right image in the lower left hand corner. This is the flat face. Notice how the small pressure flakes just shape the edge and do not penetrate into the larger percussion scars. The lateral and proximal edges are ground on this point, with the grinding extending all the way to the break. The break was an impact break. I do not recognize the lithic material.

Image 3 This base is also plano-convex in cross-section, but not to the extent of the previous base. The left image is the flat face. The flake scars originating from the right edge of the left image are percussion while the ones coming in from the left edge are pressure. The wide, right edge scars hinge out and cut more into the base. These right edge scars create the flat face. The lateral edges are ground all the way to the break and the proximal edge is also ground. The proximal edge is slightly concave, shaped by two very small ears and then a flat portion across most of the edge. This is also a Belen characteristic, but not seen on every point. The point appears to have been destroyed by impact partially evidenced by the one flake scar originating from the break and moving toward the proximal edge in the left image. The material is a translucent, clear white chalcedony. The reason the point appears blue is that the background blue is showing through.

Image 4 This broken base is longer than most bases found in campsites. It could have been resharpened and been a point of the same length as the one in Image 1. For some reason, the Belen people chose not to resharpen it. It was obviously broken on impact. Note the conchoidal ripples on the left image. It is symmetrical in cross-section and very gently expanding from the base. This gentle expansion is common of Belens. See the basal measurements section. The proximal end of the base is lightly ground and the lateral edges are ground all the way to the break on both sides. The lithic material is Cumbres Pass chert.

Image 5 This complete point has also been resharpened. It is identical to the one in Image 1 except it is a little rougher around the edges. This is probably due to the gravel environment in which it was found. The base is plano-convex in cross-section with the left image being the flat face. Note the large biface thinning flake scar in the lower left corner of the face. The lateral edges and proximal edge are ground. The lithic material contains fossils that appear to be fusilinids. There is a canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains that produces chert from the San Andres formation that is loaded with fusilinids and I suggest that this is that material.

Image 6 The workmanship on this base is better than average for a Belen point. It is symmetrical in cross-section and there are no remnants of earlier biface thinning flakes. The lateral and proximal edges are extremely ground. The lithic material is a brown jasper.


Image 7 This base consists of two pieces glued together. In the right image, the midsection fragment is a different color than its reverse face or the proximal fragment. It is impossible to say which color represents the original rock or if either does. All that can be said is that the process that caused the difference in color occurred after the pieces were separated. This point is symmetrical in cross-section and the lateral and proximal edges are ground (lateral ones to the break). The point's demise was caused by impact (flake scar coming from break in right image). The lithic material is rhyolite.

Image 8 This is the base of a well worked point. It is symmetrical in cross-section and the lateral and proximal edges are ground. There are no remnants of scars produced by biface thinning. The proximal edge of the base is almost straight. Some Belens had straight bases and Image 10 is believed to be an example of this. The lithic material is Lake Valley from the Hatch, NM area.

Image 9 This artifact represents the finest workmanship on a Belen point I have seen. Still, it is slightly plano-convex in cross-section with the right image being the flat face. On this face is the remnant of the biface thinning flake scar in the upper left corner. This flake was removed from the right edge. The lateral and proximal edges are ground with the lateral edges ground to the break. There is at least four (4) cm of lateral edge grinding. The lithic material is pitchstone or an opaque obsidian.

Image 9 is one of my favorite artifacts. When I found it 33 years ago, the base was intact and the right ear (right image) was not missing. Years later when viewing the collection with my father, I discovered it had been dropped on a hard surface and the ear broken off and shattered beyond repair. I never learned how it happened, but it deeply hurt me. I know it hurt my father, also. As I write this and hold the base in my hands, it still pains me that this very beautiful point has been damaged in this manner. I have been in museums where they would have let me handle artifacts over a concrete floor. I wouldn't do it. I plead to all that read this, do not handle lithic artifacts over a surface that will damage them if dropped. I promise you someday you will drop one.

Image 10 This point has been saved for the last because it is the crudest of the Belen points in the ten (10) images. It has very little fine pressure retouch on the edges and the base is straight. However, the lateral and proximal edges of the base have been ground. I especially don't like the way it has been resharpened. This was done in a bevelling fashion similar to the way the Archaic folks would resharpen a point. Maybe, it was resharpened by an Archaic person. It is so crude that I sometimes don't think it is a Belen, but I don't know another category in which to place it. The left image is the flat side and the material is petrified wood.




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