The Red-River Holland
                              by Bill Breckinridge

A relationship between the Holland point type and the Cody Complex
has long been suspected. One authenticator  may paper a point as a
Holland, while another equally experienced expert may paper it as a
Scottsbluff. The two types overlap in time, and the eastern edge of the
Scottsbluff range overlaps the western edge of the Holland range. It is
almost inevitable that some technological "borrowing" would occur
between the two groups. Some of these traits are easily observed and
provide tantalizing insight into cultural relationships on the eastern
plains during the Late Paleo Era.

The Holland point type is similar to the Scottsbluff type in cross
section. The points were put to very different uses, however, as
evidenced by their wear and damage. Hollands show angled edges and
side wear typical of knives. They often display the Dalton
characteristic of one ear snapped off. This happens to replica points
when they are wiggled loose from the handle for replacement, and is a
bend-break. Using these points to pry or aggressive sharpening may
result in a flake running back from the tip, but I at least have never
seen an impact fracture on a Holland point. Scottsbluffs, on the other
hand, are dart and lance points. They were made to fly true, pierce
hide and bone, and inflict a lethal wound. When they could no longer
be sharpened into an effective killing point they were discarded and
replaced. Many examples show extreme reduction, and must have
been used many times. Longer Scottsbluff points frequently show
impact fractures. Their bases often become more concave as they are
rejuvenated and rehafted after becoming loose on the shaft.

The flaking style on first stage examples of these two point types
appears quite similar, but the bases are quite different in the method
of manufacture and the strategy of the haft. Hollands are made using
the familiar old concave paleo style base. This is chiefly created by
thinning up from the bottom, and would fit a haft with correspondingly
convex seat. This provides a great deal of security. Scottsbluff bases
are created by thinning from the side, which is wasteful of length but
produces a strong stem. The base is almost always straight across
when the point is new, although damage may alter it later. This would
best fit a straight seat for the point.

So there are a few similarities between these two types, but many
more differences. The construction of the bases and hafting
arrangements would seem to indicate that these were very different
cultures. Yet, as I stated at the beginning, a relationship between
these lithic traditions is "common knowledge" among collectors. This
assumption is based on similar flaking patterns, cross section, and
geographical area. But the "proof" is the Red River Knife. On the plains
and in places such as Cody, Wyoming, or Scottsbluff, Nebraska, the
Cody culture made and used a knife form known as the Cody Knife.
This was a dedicated knife, and darts were darts until they were used
up and thrown away. But where the Dalton cultures of the east meet
the Cody Traditions of the west, heavily damaged Scottsbluff dart
points were recycled into knives. These were sharpened at an angle
and with a distinctive, steep bevel. These knives are common enough
to have been named (Red River Knife) and are recognized by most
collectors and archeologists.

Neither the Holland or Scottsbluff are sharpened with a bevel. Daltons
from the same area are beveled. Perino felt that there was a
relationship between the Sloan and the Holland. I wonder what that
knowledgeable gentleman would think if he could examine this Red
River Holland!

The Red River Holland is made of gray Permian chert. It was found in
December of 2007 by my friend Donny Replogle. In it's current
condition it's 1-1/2" long and 1" wide. It has a distinctive Holland base,
with heavy grinding. One ear is snapped off, Dalton style. The blade
has been sharpened quite distinctly into a Red River Knife. The logical
explanation is that a discarded Holland was picked up and used by the
Cody People. But an abundance of evidence points to the conclusion
that it is just what it looks like, a Red River Holland. The haft was not
re configured for a different style of mounting or repaired after
discarding. The patina is the same, and the size and style of the
flaking are consistent all over the point.               

I am fascinated by the implications of this small, worn piece of flint. I
can't help but think of the Rosetta Stone, one message in several
languages. Perhaps more Red River Hollands will surface in the future.
Perhaps you'll notice one in a frame, or coffee can or mason jar. It's
certainly food for thought
!
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This article was first published in
"Plains Signal", the newsletter of the
Kansas Archaeological Society
Red River resharpening
on Holland points from
the Arkansas River
Two artifacts from
the Duvall Collection,
Sand Springs
Oklahoma.