Chippawa Lake Bannerstone

by Victor Ahearne


One afternoon during the summer of 1998, while talking with a friend, Kelly Jagger, she mentioned about having some artifacts. She knows of my primitive skills interests and brought some by to show me, and began to tell me a true story of her cousin Violet.

Violet, her grandfather, father, and Violets son would find and collect pockets full of arrowheads on their property located in the central portion of Michigan's lower peninsula near the city of of Evart. One day, during the summer of 1940, Violet, a young adult was taking the cows out to pasture. It was on this day when Violet found what her grandfather would call a "skinning knife". This skinning knife was actually a peck and grind, stone hatchet. Then during the summer, 1944 Violet was sent out to pick a bucket of blackberries for dinner. During this one certain trip to the blackberry patch, a stone caught Violets eye, and she had an idea. You see Violet didn't like this chore of picking berries, so she thought she would throw this stone in her bucket to take up space so it wouldn't take so long to pick the berries.

Well, this stone that caught Violet's eye was an actual bannerstone. Can you imagine just walking along in your yard and finding one of these today? Well, I was so intrigued by this story I decided to get in touch with Violet. Not only did I receive a letter from Violet but she was gracious enough to let me see and photograph the bannerstone and hatchet.

The bannerstone was an angular Geniculate type. Archaic period. It was made from banded slate. When I weighed the bannerstone, it weighed in at 0.55 lbs. It was approx. 5" long by 3" in height and one inch thick. The drilled hole was oval and tapered to the center. This bannerstone is similar to the bannerstone described in the Tom Razmus collection, Georgetown, Ill (plate #90) Also within the Univ. of Kentucky Occasional papers in Anthropology No. 2, the development of the spear thrower, by William S. Webb 1957 pg 56 Fig 17 letter "C".

Violets collection included of various axes, scrapers and arrowheads. Unfortunately the only remaining items are the bannerstone and the hatchet. I thank Violet and Kelly for the opportunity to tell this story and see these wonderful artifacts.

Victor Ahearne

Atlatls and ...