|Lawrence Arrowhead find significant for area
|Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013 9:04 pm
After his presentation, Lawrence (left) talked with (continuing from left) Jim Greer and Bill Flood.
The Messenger 01.21.13
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Five-year-old Kurt Sanders was out playing in his yard in the Cat Corner area of Obion County this past summer.
With a small hoe in hand, the youngster was busy working the soil when he struck something hard — an arrowhead. Then he swung a second time and two more arrowheads emerged from the ground. A third swing revealed three more arrowheads.
That’s basically how the historic Cat Corner Cache was found, according to state archaeologist Bill Lawrence.
He related the full story of the Cat Corner Cache to the Union City Rotary Club Friday afternoon.
Lawrence, a lifelong Obion County resident, graduated from Union City High School, went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Murray State (Ky.) University and a master’s degree in archaeology from the University of Memphis.
He said he first learned of the discovery from one of his superiors and was ordered to investigate.
It didn’t take long for Lawrence to realize the Cat Corner discovery was a legitimate find and was historically significant. He told the Rotary Club the area along the Mississippi River is a very prominent geographic landform and people have lived along the river for thousands of years. Lawrence described the Cat Corner Cache as a “window” that opened to the past.
By the time he had excavated the site in the southwest corner of Obion County, Lawrence found 70 arrowheads (turkeytail blades) and two stone beads.
“None of this material is local to Obion County,” Lawrence said about the archaeological find. “Some of these things are absolutely beautiful, absolutely perfect.”
The arrowheads were photographed and documented and Lawrence said he sent the pieces off to a lab in Florida, where they underwent sophisticated Carbon 14 dating. The arrowheads and beads were determined to be about 3,000 years old “and that is a very significant radio carbon date.”
“Something very, very significant happened at this location,” he told Rotarians.
He used a slide show to document the archaeological dig and offered his educated opinion of why the collection of arrowheads was buried in that area.
“The people that made this material were hunters and gatherers,” Lawrence said. “These people were not isolated.”
The arrowheads are believed to have been made by expert flintknappers and some of the arrowheads measured up to seven inches, according to Lawrence.
He said it is his opinion that whoever buried the collection of arrowheads did so in a ceremony intended to create social status. Just as modern day wealth and status are measured by a person’s possessions, so it was 3,000 years ago. Lawrence said by burying the valuable arrowheads, the owner achieved social status among his tribesmen.
Lawrence will present his findings from the Cat Corner Cache at an archaeological conference this summer in Tampa Bay, Fla., and the arrowheads will be on display when Discovery Park of America opens this fall.
The Cat Corner Cache will be on display as part of the park’s Native Americans Gallery in the Discovery Center.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ ucmessenger.com.