I began writing this document on the PES by looking at the artifacts and reading some of the material I had and had not read in the past. This process caused me to remember that my opinion on whether the PES was a hafted tool or not has waxed and waned over the years. However, by the time I was ready to start writing I was convinced that the PES was, in fact, a hafted tool. The reader may have already detected that this is my opinion, if they have read the earlier sections.

Most of the literature leaves one with the opinion that some of the PES were hafted and that some were not. Judge says just that in his Paleoindian Occupations of the Central Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico ( 1973:187). Some of the characteristics of the presumed non-hafted PESs are: 1) no indications of hafting in the form of scratches or other marks, 2) no lateral edge shaping, 3) no thinning of the proximal end for hafting, 4) presence of notches near the proximal end that should be absent if hafted, and 5) asymmetrical (distal edge is not perpendicular with the longitudinal axis) which would not be the case if the tool was hafted (Frison and Todd 1987:246; Goodyear 1974:45; Witthoft 1952:15). Characterisitics of the hafted PESs are: 1) poor lateral edge workmanship compared to the distal end, 2) thinning of the proximal end, 3) symmetrical with center wear of the distal end, 4) tapering shape (necessary if the tool was socketed in the haft), and 5) distal end fragments (not possible to break if only held in the hand) ( Deller and Ellis 1992:56; Frison and Todd 1987:246; Goodyear 1974:43-45; MacDonald 1985:91-92)

Within any site there will be a mixture of PES with these hafted and unhafted characteristics. More importantly, there will be a mixture of the hafted and unhafted characteristics on the individual PESs. For example, this is an asymmetrical PES with retouched lateral edges that strongly suggest that it was hafted (as I have depicted in the image). Besides the asymmetry, the other characteristics of non-hafting are: no indication (scratches) of hafting, no proximal end thinning and it has two notches -- suggestive of spoke shaves -- on the right lateral edge. The only characteristics for hafting are lateral edge shaping through retouch, one of which has the notches, and a tapering shape. (Click on the image, which is the ventral face, to see the color version of this artifact. The reader has seen this PES before in the discussion on spurs.)

I believe this PES was hafted because of the relationship between the right lateral edge retouch and the spur (broken from the right lateral edge). This retouch, which is in the form of two notches, one of which is adjacent to the missing spur, could have been created by utilizing the PES as a spoke shave to work a round shaft. If this were the case, then it would not have been hafted. On the other hand these notches might be the result of expedient shaping of the edge by rubbing it with a convex surface. The notches really do not look like spoke shaves and I do not believe they were. I believe the right lateral edge was shaped as described for the purpose of hafting the PES as shown in the image.

Here is the second PES, discussed in the section on spurs, depicted in a haft.

Wilmsen and Roberts wrote in their Lindenmeier Report.

Distal edge tools (PES), ..., have very low dimensional variances; width and thickness, particularly, are dimensionally uniform. ... Resharpening accounts for some of the variation in length but probably for little of width and none of thickness. The fact that distal edge tools display such narrow dimensional tolerances is most likely due to function causes. The requirements of hafting or socketing are possible controlling factors to which the cross-sectional dimensions of these tools must conform ( 1978:162).

I strongly agree with statistics that indicate PESs exhibit minimal variation in shape. In fact, the only other tool that has less variation in shape is the projectile point of a particular group of people. Ironically, projectile points were manufactured to a mental template which yielded minimal variation between points. As they were resharpened (refurbished) the variation between points increased. The PESs, on the other hand, were manufactured with such great variation that they could not even be classified as a such in the beginning. As they were resharpened in the haft, the variation between them decreased until they became recognizable as a PES.

As I stated in the Description Section, the spur is the most diagnostic attribute (characteristic) of a PES. I propose and believe it results from lateral edge work to socket the PES, followed by resharpening that reduces the PES to an exhausted tool. The spur did not exist at the time of hafting. It is a natural result of the process of use and resharpening of the PES. See the section on the Lifecycle of a PES.

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