Highlights from the History of Needham in 100 objects
Arrow point: Chert; Cache blade: Quartzite
This stone arrow point is of the "Dalton" type; post-Glacial; Paleo-Indian/Early Archaic Transition, c. 10,500 - 8500 years Before Present. It is made of Chert, a fine-grained sedimentary rock.
Cache Blade: thin, fragile quartzite in perfect shape with no damage or breakage; about 2000 years old.
The arrow point is the oldest man-made object that has been found in Needham, about 9,000 years old. It was found near the Charles River, on the site of the current Charles River Street Pumping Station. Its small size indicates that it was used for small-game hunting at a summer encampment.

This little point signals a significant change in the region's climate, and in the lifestyle of the Native American hunters. About 10,000 years ago, the last Ice Age ended and the landscape became one of temperate forest, rich in a variety of plants, fish, and small game. Hunters could stay in one place all season to take advantage of the abundance of resources. Rivers such as the Charles were ideal for hunting, fishing, and gathering during the warmer months. Points of this "Dalton" type are among the earliest of the post-Glacial artifacts. Its small size and its find-spot on the river indicate that it was used for small-game hunting at a summer encampment.

The cache blade was found buried in a Needham yard. It is considered "ceremonial" because of the extremely fine workmanship, and because it is so thin and fragile that it would shatter if actually used. "Cache" means that it was intended to be buried or hidden as an offering, a gift to the Spirits. Despite its fragility, this blade is in perfect shape, with no damage or breakage - another clue that it may have been buried intentionally and not just thrown away or lost.

This cache blade is about 2,000 years old. At that time, local Native American people were living in permanent villages for most of the year, planting crops such as corn, squash, and beans, as well as hunting and gathering wild plants. Being settled in one place gave them the time to create fine crafts, and to trade for special goods over long distances.

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Stone Arrow Point and Ceremonial Cache BladeStone Arrow Point and Ceremonial Cache Blade