We all know that an artifact in one's hand is like holding a link to the past. Iit is hard not to visualize in our minds the ancient crafter making the item, and then using it for its intended purpose. While many artifacts are similar and their use pretty much the same (example - flint dart points), others have something about them that is different, and their link to the ancient past has more to tell. Anciently salvaged artifacts are an example of this - and I find them fascinating to collecting. A broken point that was renotched, a knife that was reworked, a pendant that was broken and then redrilled are some examples of such salvaged items. But adding another layer of intrigue to salvage relics are those artifacts which were broken and discarded, only to be picked up hundreds or thousands of years later by another ancient one and then salvaged and put back into use. Think about this: You are walking along 5,000 years ago - you look down, and there is a big knife with a broken base. First, it would be a curiosity even back then to pick it up and look it over - see how it was made, what the material was, etc. Then, if it were possible to add a couple notched and use it again, why not? It would save time as it is already made. Add in the fact that we do not really know the mystic qualities of such items in ancient times, but it is possible that they viewed such items as good luck, or a link to their own past. Who knows. What we do know, is that tools were in fact picked up generations later and put back in use, and such items are a favorite of mine to collect. With that being said - I came across this flint hoe not long ago.
One of the first things I noticed about it was the use heavy "use polish" to the bit area. If you are not familiar with use polish, it is a polish that flint (and stone) takes on around the bit area from repeated use in ancient times. Sometimes just the high spots on the flake ridges with have polish, while other times the entire bit area will be highly polished smooth and taking on almost a tumbled look to it, as is the case with this hoe.
This is a good shot of the glossy use polish that covers almost 1/3 of the hoe's top surface.
When I turned the hoe over, I saw something that was really cool - it had been anciently salvaged by someone hundreds of years or longer after it was originally made.
If you look at the reverse side of the bit that is shown here, you can see three things: 1.) the heavy patina that has built up on back 2/3rds. of the relic 2.) The different color patina on the bit area where it was reworked at a much later time removing the heavy patina 3.) a fresh nick to the blade edge which removed the second stage of patina and shows the original unpatinated flint color (bright white).
Looking for a difference in patina color is a great way and the first thing one should do when trying to determine if an artifact has been modernly enhanced - but make sure you keep in mind that in rare circumstances, some differences in patina could still be thousands of years old - just a case of later ancient salvage. Jim Bennett