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Michigan Paleo and Bayport Chert
by Todd Walterspaugh, Galesburg, Michigan
Originally Published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.57, No.1, pg.22

Pictured above are seven Paleo points found in the state of Michigan. All are of local cherts, and three are of Bayport Chert. Of all the lithic materials utilized by Michigan's Na­tive Americans, it is perhaps the most beauti­ful and widely distributed. It is named for the Bayport Formation for where it outcrops and is primarily found in the Northeastern area of Southern Michigan. It is found as nodules or irregular blocks generally along the river banks. The main source for the material is in Saginaw Bay, near Bayport, in Huron Coun­ty.

It has a waxy to chalky texture and is gener­ally light brown to medium grey in color. The material is high in fossil content and also in­cludes quartz, which can appear as either white clouds or in a bulls-eye pattern. Other minerals present in the material include hematite, li­monite and dolomite. Fossils present include sponge spicules, brachipods, bryozans and colony coral.

Bayport Chert was utilized by all prehistor­ic time periods from Paleo to Late Prehistoric, with the dominant use being the Early Archa­ic Period and the Middle Woodland Period. Commonly seen in use for Thebes, Adena and Snyders style points. Bayport Chert was a largely distributed material and was used by Native Americans in all of Michigan's lower peninsula including as far away as Central In­diana northward into northwestern Ohio and southwestern Ontario, Canada.

"Used by Permission of the Author"
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