Celt Found at Hollstein Site – Amherst

A new archaeological site has been located and documented by the New Indian Ridge Museum.  Currently agricultural land, this property is slated for development in the near future.  We have gained permission from the landowners to conduct an archaeological survey of this property and work to preserve any evidence of prehistoric inhabitance.

Agricultural land owned by the Hollstein family, contiguous to the Historic Shupe Homestead in Amherst, along Cooper Foster Park Road, has been identified as a prehistoric site.  The topography of the immediate area is characterized as gently rolling with a few steep valleys, especially closer to tributaries feeding Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek is located nearby and would have been an important source of water and nourishment for prehistoric peoples.  High cliffs along the Creek would have also aided in protection and fortification as well.

Through surface hunting operations and archaeological surveys, museum staff has been able to locate several artifacts indicating prehistoric inhabitance.  These include: 100+ flint flakes from the production process; a nutting stone/hammerstone multi-purpose tool; 2 fragments of Archaic Pentagonal projectile points; fire cracked rock; a multi-purpose stone tool; a green banded slate celt, and part of a stone mortar.

Archaic Pentagonal Point.

The farm field has not been plowed for several years, and a no-till crop planting technique has been employed most recently.  At an estate sale in April 2011 at the Hollstein farmstead, seven celts and an un-fluted Paleo projectile point were offered for sale. This old farm collection was probably assembled by either Mr. George Hollstein or his father, many years ago.  The artifacts were found on the family’s farmland during farming operations.  The New Indian Ridge Museum was fortunate enough to be able to purchase and secure these artifacts and keep them preserved in the area, not far from where they were made thousands of years ago.

The artifacts found by both the Hollstein family and the New Indian Ridge Museum indicate the site was inhabited by people of the Paleo and Archaic cultures.  By finding these different artifacts indicating a range of prehistoric cultures, it is very possible this area was used as an important “pass through” spot by the prehistoric people over the years, heading to other areas.  The presence of so many flint flakes makes us postulate that this area was an important campsite spot where tools were manufactured.

Portion of worked flint piece in situ at the site.
An assortment of flint flakes from the site.

On March 27, a celt (ungrooved axe stone tool) of local green banded slate material – seen below – was found in the field, further underscoring the importance of documenting this prehistoric site before it is developed.

The slate celt is seen here "in situ" at the site.
Side view of the bit end of the celt.
A portion of an Archaic Pentagonal point shown here "in situ" at the Hollstein Field Site in Amherst, found by Col. Nahorn April 3, 2012. This piece further confirms it was used by the Archaic prehistoric peoples.
Another view of the celt.