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Folsom

THE FOLSOM/MIDLAND CONNECTION
By Jeb A. Taylor
Many Folsom sites contain both fluted and unfluted points. It is not known whether they were made by two separate complexes co-habiting the High Plains, a single complex that made both types, or possibly a combination of both (Taylor 2006:179).
Scharbauer Site

The first person to seriously address the issue regarding unfluted Folsom points was probably Wendorf, for examples he collected at the Scharbauer site near Midland, Texas in 1954. In 1955 he published a report on the site stating (1955:49):

Because of the facts (1) that no provision has yet been made in Americtm artifact typology for these Folsom-like unfluted points that are too small and thin to be Plainviews, (2) that they already have been found in a number of sites where classic fluted Folsom points occur in about equal numbers, and (3) that none have as yet been found in place—so far as we know—in an excavation, we prefer not to give them, as yet, any formal status as a type. We shall refer to them temporarily as "unfluted Folsom" points.

He further observed that (1955:49):

This practice has some justification in that points are already known from several sites in the Great Plains, which are typically Folsom in size and shape and have the distinctive basal nipple, but which are fluted on one side only. Probably they were too thin to flute both sides. The thinness and flatness of the points in question here are such that the points probably could not be fluted on either side.

However, Wormington stated (1957:42):

Wendorf and Kreiger were at first reluctant to give them formal status as a type, and referred to them as "unfluted Folsoms," but in a forthcoming report on more recent work at this site they will call them Midland points.

No reference was cited regarding this report, so apparently, Wormington was the first to officially introduce the Midland designation.

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Figure 1: Midland/Folsom points (1:1)

A: Scharbauer site, Midland County, Texas (cast)

B: Blackwater Draw site, Roosevelt County, New Mexico (Taylor 2006:163)

This change may have occurred, at least in part, by Wendorf's and Krieger's observations that Folsom points frequently exhibit basal indentations and Midland points generally do not. Possibly they failed to realize that basal indentations on Folsom points exist because they were fluted, not (necessarily) as a stylistic attribute of the type. The setting up of successive channel flakes platforms inadvertently creates basal indentations. However, there can be little doubt that Folsom knappers, being sensitive to subtleties in form, enhanced these indentations by creating pleasingly shaped.auricles.

More telling than any other evidence in at least the technological connectivity between Folsom and Midland points is that some of them appear as classic Midland points on one side and classic Folsom points on the other (Fig. 1).

Late stage Folsom point preforms and Midland points are quite similar, and the distal portions of Folsom points that are not fluted exhibit virtually identical workmanship as Midland points.