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Broken Clovis point from the Adams site (Sanders 1983:140).


Site ID: 15Ch90

Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Unless specified, we cannot provide site location information.


​​​​​​The Adams site in Christian County is located close to the town of Hopkinsville. This three-acre site sits on a low hill along the margin of a large sinkhole not far from the Little River. Adams and several nearby sites are Paleoindian stone tool quarries/workshops. It is clear that Paleoindian hunter-gatherers who made Clovis (fluted) spear points came to this area, including Adams, to access the high-quality chert they needed for their stone tools. 

Archaeologists have never excavated the Adams site. What is known about it comes exclusively from the artifacts surface collected by professional and avocational archaeologists in the late 1970s. An abundance of chert and a well-watered landscape featuring a number of natural ponds and swales in limestone sinkholes made the area attractive to these ancient people. Analysis of the materials from this site has contributed to our understanding of Paleoindian chipped stone tool technologies.

Clovis spear point found in Webster County, Kentucky.


Adams site flintknappers made a variety of stone tools: end- or side-scrapers, bifaces, spears, and prismatic blades (long, narrow, specialized tools with sharp parallel edges, like a small razor blade). In fact, Adams is one of the best sites in eastern North America for documenting the importance of blade manufacture.

Blade cores also were recovere​d from the site. They had to be conical- or bullet-shaped, and prepared carefully, in order to make blades that were narrow and long. Examples of exhausted (used up) cores also were found at Adams. 

When flintknappers shaped raw chert ​​​nodules for blade removal, they generated a great deal of coarse debris. But they did not waste it. They adapted the debris, making scrapers or fluted spear points and unfluted ovate bifaces for use as knives. 

These tools were socketed (mounted) into wood, bone, antler, and ivory handles. Making these handles likely took as much or more time to make than the stone tools themselves. Even more effort was needed to find and make cements and binding materials to hold the stone tools in place.

A side- and end-scraper.

What's Cool?

The Art of Flintknapping

Adams shows that the true art of a Clovis flintknapper - and the true test of economizing behavior (in other words, avoiding waste) - lay in making a supply of long implements that would endure much use.  

Clovis tool kits everywhere are very similar, but the ways knappers produced them were not. Clovis knappers were highly adaptable and creative, and able to cope with their local situation. For example, Ste. Genevieve chert tends to occur as spherical nodes with a thick rind or cortex. It was challenging for the Adams site flintknappers to make long tool blanks from this chert. Their solution? Make conical cores. This economizing strategy yielded a maximum number of tool blanks per core of the kind required for their Clovis tool kit.

At first glance, given the the abundance of chert at Adams​, one might think that Paleoindian flintknappers did not have to economize. But inspection of workshop debris has shown that Native flintknappers threw out very little good usable stone. They converted manufacturing failures into new tools and used raw materials wisely.​​​

Clovis blade (left) and core (right) from the Little River area.

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