Nine ground stone artifacts were recovered, including a pestle, a maul, a net weight, three abrading stones, and 1 basalt artifact which was both flaked and ground and showed traces of hematite on its surface.
Ninety-one flaked stone artifacts were recovered.
- 21 projectile points and/or projectile point performs. Nineteen are chert or other cryptocystalline stone; one is basalt and one is petrified wood. Eight of the projectile points are arrow points which were probably made and used in the Harder Phase; two are dart points, which would place them in the earlier Tucannon Phase (see Leonhardy and Rice 1970).
- 12 knives. One is hafted using Dog Bane or Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum).
- 4 bifaces. Three are chert and one is slate.
- 9 endscrapers
- 1 drill
- 2 basalt hammerstones. One is a modified cobble, the other is flaked
- 6 incising tools. Five are chert, one is petrified wood
- 1 unifacial basalt chopper
- 7 cores
- 15 retouched flakes which represent expedient tools
- 12 utilized flakes
- 2 tools of unknown function, one of basalt with hematite on one edge, the other of petrified wood
Fifty-four pieces of debitage were recovered; about 100 additional pieces of debitage are present in the unanalyzed level bags. This represents a relatively small amount of debitage and suggests that Squirt Cave was not a tool production site. Debitage produced was from the maintenance, sharpening, and reworking of tools. With the exception of seven obsidian artifacts, all ground and flaked stone artifacts are made from local materials: chert, basalt, petrified wood, metamorphic rock, quartzite, slate, argillite, and sandstone. Four additional pieces of obsidian are present in the unanalyzed level bags: one small flake core, one secondary reduction flake, and two unworked nodules. Neither Combes nor Endacott submitted obsidian for source analysis.
Incised Clay Objects
Fourteen incised clay objects appear to have been fired. They are covered with hematite and predate the earliest radiocarbon date obtained (1750±150 B.P.). Endacott conducted disaggregation and refiring experiments on several very small, unprovenienced fragment. The fragments did not disaggregate after several days, suggesting that they had been fired. Endacott then refired three of the fragments in an oxidizing environment, starting at 200º C and increasing by 100º C intervals to 900º C. The original color and the subsequent changes between 400º C and 500º C, between 600º C and 700º C, and at 700º C indicate that they were originally fired in an oxygen-poor atmosphere. The incising was done through the hematite coating, but it could not be ascertained whether the objects were fired before or after incising. At least one of these objects may be human effigy or figurine, similar to one found near The Dalles (Kopper 1986:193).
While sun-dried clay objects have been found on the Plateau, these discoveries are infrequent. The technology was known, but with the exception of the Kootenai, no groups used sun-dried or baked clay vessels for cooking, preferring cooking pits. This may have been a more efficient way to prepare bulky roots which were a large part of the diet.
Bone, Antler, and Shell Tools
Thirty nine tools made from bone, antler, or shell were recovered:
- 4 awls, scraper, or fleshers made from split metapodials
- 7 awls2 antler wedges probably used in woodworking or hideworking
- 1 perforated freshwater mussel shell, possibly a pendant4 hafted beaver incisors, probably used as chisels
- 5 pointed antler tools; three are hafted; these may have been harpoon foreshafts, projectile points, harpoon points, or barbs
- 5 tools of unknown function; these are made from split metapodials and may be matting needles
- 2 composite harpoon valves
- 1 proximal end of a deer antler
- 1 flaked bone object1 polished bone fragment
- 1 bipointed split deer metatarsal1 split long bone
- 4 possible antler tools
Seventy-five percent of artifacts recovered from Squirt Cave are related to matting and woven items.
Endacott (1992:104-105) included a short glossary to assist readers in understanding the descriptions of these textiles:
“Basketry – Articles manufactured by continuous weaving that progresses in a spiral fashion from the center outward. These articles are generally globular or cylindrical in shape (Mallory 1966:76).
Close Twining – Weft rows are so tightly spaced as to conceal the warps totally or almost totally (Adovasio 1977:16).
Cordage – Any continuous filament used for tying, lashing, or binding (Mallory 1966:76).
Diagonal Twining – A pair of warps is engaged alternately at each weft crossing. Warps are parallel and each successive weft row separates the preceding pair of warps creating a new pair and producing a diagonal effect on the finished surface (Adovasio 1977:16).
Matting – A heavy, flat, woven, or sewn fabric (Mallory 1966:16).
Open Twining – Weft rows are spaced at intervals leaving portion of the warp exposed (Adovasio 1977:16).
Selvage – Edge of a woven fabric finished to prevent raveling, often in a narrow strip different than the body of the fabric (Mallory 1966:77). Baskets proper and bags generally possess a single selvage at the rim or mouth, while items such as mats have a selvage around their entire margin (Adovasio 1977:34).
Sewing – Joining of attaching of yarns or elements by a thread drawn by a needle (Mallory 1966:77).
Simple Twining – A common variety in which a single warp is engaged at each weft crossing. Warps are parallel and each succeeding weft row engages the same warps at the same interval (Adovasio 1977:16).
Twilling – Elements are woven in any combination or variation of the following: under-two over-two; under-one over-two; under-three over three; or under-two over-three (Weltfish 1930:483).
Twining – A subclass of basket weaves made by sewing stationary (passive) vertical elements, or warps, with moving (active) horizontal elements called wefts (Andrews, Adovasio, and Carlise 1986:19).
Twist – Turns about the axis of a yarn or cord. When the slant or the twist is down-to-the-right or clockwise when it is held vertically it is known as S-twist. When the slant of of the twist is down to the left or counterclockwise when it is held vertically, it is called Z-twist (Mallory 1966:77).
Warps – Stationary vertical elements around which the wefts are passed in the manufacture of textiles. The warps are passive while the wefts are active (Adovasio 1977:15).
Wefts – Pliable element that is interwoven around the warp or rigid yarn (Mallory 1966:77).
Yarn – A continuous strand of textile fibers or filaments in a form suitable for knitting, weaving, or other manipulation to form a fabric (Osborne and Osborne 1954:1096).
Textiles at Squirt Cave included:
Twenty-three basketry fragments were recovered and nine were analyzed. All of the fragments analyzed are twined; six are close simple twining with a Z-twist weft; three are open simple twining with a Z-twist weft.
Twenty five fragments were recovered. All are tule mats sewn with grass. Twenty-three are simple sewn matting with S-twist wefts; one is twilled matting with selvage, and one is diagonal matting with Z-twined weft.
Two hundred and four single strands of 2-ply cordage and one strand of 4-ply cordage were recovered. The use of grass as the dominant raw material in the production of cordage is characteristic of the Plateau, and these are probably all grass, but may also include sagebrush bark, Indian hemp, willow, or tule. Seventeen samples, all grass, were analyzed. Fifteen are S-twist, two are Z-twist.
Twenty-two wooden artifacts were recovered, including knotted and twisted bark fragments, pointed sticks, and grooved, curved, or notched twigs or sticks. Five artifacts were analyzed, including a perforated, tapered red cedar object probably used as a tool; a red cedar spoon or spatula, a red cedar H-shaped cordage spool wound with Indian Hemp cordage; a carrying handle of syringe (Philadelphus lewisii), and a matting needle used in the production of tule mats. Wood fragments included pieces of split cedar with charred ends; fragments with possible cordage wrap marks (or rodent damage), roots, bark, fragments of firewood, sagebrush, small tufts of grass with roots attached, historic remains.