Nakonechny’s (1998) thesis represents the fourth classification of artifacts from Wexpusnime. Data associated with the earliest two original classifications were lost well before the late 1990s due to technological obsolescence of the recording system used. Classification and curatorial work by Collins and Andrefsky (1995) prepared the collection for efficient future analysis and description. The most recent and detailed classification scheme employs three levels of analysis.
The artifact categories are stone tools, bone tools, antler tools, organics, and ‘other,’ which includes mineral pigments, ceramics, and historic materials.
The first level of classification within a category is artifact class. Items of similar form and shared function belong to the same class. Examples of artifact classes are projectile points, scrapers, and awls.
The second level is type designation, which is based on major form and size differences within each artifact class. Examples of type designation are side- or corner-notched projectile points.
The third level consists of type variation, which is based on secondary characteristics. Examples of type variation are would include shape of the projectile point base and orientation of the artifact’s margin.
- There are 317 classifiable projectile points and 311 projectile point fragments in 8 groups. Most points are base-notched, corner-notched and small side-notched. Additional types include large side-notched, stemmed, side-and-base-notched, small irregular, and lanceolate points.
- Some older varieties may have been “recycled” – i.e. collected from older sites.
- Base-notched, corner-notched and small side-notched points are made of cryptocrystalline silicates (CCS). These varieties, especially corner-notched, are the standard, non-intrusive, late prehistoric points.
- Obsidian and basalt are only found among corner-notched points.
- Stemmed points are the most diverse type, with five varieties. These include intrusive Cascade points (made of basalt with calcareous residue – as noted by Leonhardy et al. (1971). Lanceolates points may be intrusive.
- Ninety-seven percent of all points are CCS, especially chalcedony, jasper, and opal. All are locally available within about 20 miles. Two percent are basalt, also probably local. One percent are obsidian. The obsidian may have been obtained as raw material from eastern Oregon or western Idaho, but was possibly recycled from other sites. There are only two obsidian points.
- There is no hafting residue visible on any points.
- Points at Wexpusnime are smaller (i.e. shorter and narrower) and made with finer retouch than points at Wawawai (45WT39); neck widths are 3-8 mm vs. 10-15 mm for darts; points larger than 8 mm are 1) intrusives, 2) lanceolates.
- The small size is indicative of bow and arrow technology in the Late Harder Phase. See Ames et al. 2010 for another interpretation.
Other Stone Tools
- Preforms are all made of cryptocrystalline silicates (CCS); 19 have one notch removed
- There are eight distinct types of knives. Most are made of CCS. The most abundant type is approximately triangular. Also present are Plateau pentagonal knives made of CCS or basalt, large and small tear-shaped knives made of chalcedony, large flat-based knives, and “knives” that may actually be oddly-shaped projectile points.
- Scrapers are made of CCS or basalt. Types include snub-nosed with a steep angle on the distal end, snub-nosed with spurs on lateral margins, flake scrapers with minimal alteration and unifacial retouch, flake scrapers with dorsal and ventral retouch, and crescentic scrapers with two working edges.
- Drills or perforators are bifacially or trifacially worked. They were probably used to bore holes in wood, bone, and soft stone. Few artifacts found have drill holes.
- Most gravers are expedient tools, used for scoring bone and wood. They are made of CCS and shatter, with isolated marginal retouch.
- Modified flakes, easily produced, are the most abundant tool.
- There are two types of cores. One type has an irregular shape, with flakes removed by direct and bipolar percussion. The second type consists of rounded river cobble either split or with spall removed.
- Cobble hammerstone and miscellaneous cobbles are generally rounded river cobbles with end wear showing “repetitive percussive use on other stones” (Nakonechy 1998:75).
- Pestles are made from naturally smooth and rounded cobbles with a bullet or cigar shape. The distal surface is slightly convex and completely ground. Mauls have a pecked handle element. One in this collection is very similar to mauls found along the Columbia River.
- Mortars are made of tabular basalt or flat, circular, river cobbles. They are ground and pecked to have shallow round depressions near the center. These were possibly used with hopper baskets to process plant foods.
- Edge-ground cobbles were probably general-purpose hammers or grinding tools.
- Cobble spalls are altered or unaltered flakes.
- Net sinkers have two or four notches or one perforation.
- Eight pipe fragments and one pipe blank are made of siltstone, sandstone, soft CCS, and clay. These are probably non-local materials.
- Cobble “adzes” show minimal alteration. The cobbles are split or broken and show flaking and polish along the broken edges. These were probably for food preparation rather than wood working.
- The function of one soft slate-like or argillaceous ground and faceted stone could not be determined.
- Shaft abraders were made of vesicular basalt.
- Miscellaneous altered stone tools consist of scraping or chopping tools made from large elongated river cobbles or tabular basalt.
- Projectile points are part of spear or harpoon systems, some with ground planes or grooves. Similar points were found at Wawawai (Yent 1976).
- Awls and perforators consist mainly of fragments, with and without basal smoothing; some have handle-like elements.
- Two bone matting needles, similar to those recovered at Alpowa (Brauner 1976), are variable in how much of the original bone surface is retained, and in the degree of grinding and polish.
- Bone and antler wedges were used for wood splitting or for use as stakes or pegs.
- Worked bone fragments represent the by-products of tool making as well as remains of bone tools.
- Decorated bone fragments are polished and patterned with rows of parallel cuts or notches. These may be gaming pieces
- Miscellaneous bone tools include tubes or ornamental perforated elk teeth and a scraping tool made from a scapula.
Basketry fragments were recovered from House 2. These are made of grass and probably came from a small round basket constructed using closed simple twining with S-twisted wefts.
Mineral pigments found include ochre, a piece of fired-red clay, and mica.
Several fragments of ceramics fired at low temperature were found. These consist of clay without added temper.
All historic materials in Area A are intrusive, with the possible exception of trade beads.