Paleo Indian stone tool artifacts — how can tell a reproduction from a genuine artifact?

I love Clovis points. I have been craving to buy one on eBay. But I can’t tell the genuine from the fakes. Some have days which you can inspect the goods or you can get a refund. I have a microscope. But I don’t know what to look for.

4 Responses to “Paleo Indian stone tool artifacts — how can tell a reproduction from a genuine artifact?”

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  1. jbship628 says:

    Well, from all the genuine ones I have ever seen, if it looks absolutely perfect, it probably isn’t real. A true clovis point has to be at least a couple to several hundred years old. If there aren’t some wear marks or some chipping or weathering, then it’s probably something a lot more recent. Also, pay attention to what types of rock things are made of. Obsidian glass was used sometimes, but not as often as more durable stones. Obsidian was used more for cutting tools, and not weapon tools, that’s because when first chipped it’s as sharp as a modern medical scalpel, but it wears very quickly. That would not make for a very sturdy point. Just some thoughts.

  2. Krystabelle says:

    i would be very careful. they have figured out very successfully how to reproduce these tools, I have seen it done. I found a website for you to have a look at, but I believe this sums it up (from website)
    Collector principle:
    The more beautiful, large and more undamaged an artifact looks, the more exactly it should be examined during or before purchase!

    Good luck!!

  3. Radi O says:

    Buying artifacts on ebay is ethically wrong.

    By doing so you are contributing to the looting and destruction of archaeological sites. You are raping your own culture and, in the end, are preventing yourself from finding out information about the culture you profess to love. You also are very likely breaking the law as the sale of antiquities is very restricted and is an FBI matter quite often. If the Clovis point you buy has cross state lines you may be breaking interstate commerce laws. If the point has been removed from federal land you may be violating the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) which is a pretty rock solid law.

    How about participating in an archaeological dig or helping out a local museum instead of destroying the past for everyone else? Don’t be selfish and greedy.

    If you insist on going through with it, I do hope you get a fake. And take it from me, a professional archaeologist, there is no sure way to tell if a stone object is genuine or fake (which is why looting, which you are supporting sucks so bad) so you might as well save your money.

  4. Bill Wagner says:

    Objection, Your Honor — the witness is hallucinating.

    Refusing to buy artifacts because of moral scruples has about the same net effect on the artifact trade as refusing to drink alcohol has on breweries and distilleries, refusing to look at porn has on the porn business, and refusing to have a computer has on the cyber world. I.e., none. Pretending otherwise may give people in need of self-esteem a pretext for feeling self-righteous, but the real world rolls along without them honestly addressing it. Which tells you something about them.

    This is not to excuse people with shovels and screens destroying sites for the sake of finding trophy artifacts. But in fairness,

    1) a lot of (legally-mandated) “contract archaeology” is not much of an improvement over it.

    2) From a curatorial standpoint, people who value artifacts (purchased or found) take much better care of them than institutions do.

    3) Museums and historical societies (etc.) are overburdened with what they have to curate already. If you were to donate your collection to an institution (always a no-strings gift), you would find that it had turned around and — you guessed it — SOLD IT to raise operating funds.

    The real world and the ivory tower have very little in common.

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