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blogbrainsmallSeacoast History Blog #133 
December 28, 2011

I know peanuts about prehistoric Native American artifacts, but that apparently makes me an expert around here. Because I grew up with a brother who went on to become a scholar of prehistoric Indians in the Gulf of Maine, I’ve always been interested in the topic, but perpetually confused on the details about stone projectile points, scrapers, gouges, plummets, etc. Archaeologists have so little to work with and, thus, come to so few conclusions, that it’s hard to follow along. But I try. And now and then I write something about what I’ve learned and post it online. And when I do, I get calls and emails from others who are maybe a shade more confused than I. Like the call I got from 82-year old Luke in Blanco, Texas last week. His son found something in 1969 and he’s still trying to figure out what it is. (Continued below)

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I always tell people that I have no interest in the monetary value of historic artifacts. I don’t “do dollars.” I’m only interested in talking to people who intend to give their items to a museum. That eliminates about half of my callers. But Luke persisted and, following my advice, took some photos of his favorite object and sent them along today. My expert says it looks like a very large MORTAR, the kind used round the world since ancient times to grind things. That’s good to know, since it looked too much to me like an ancient chamber pot.

I wrote back to Luke with this bit of info, then searched for the phrase “Indian mortar” in Google Images. I got a lot of people from India using a mortar, but one looks like another. I send Luke the links I could find to a few Native American museums, but I hope he finds someone in Texas who wants this item in their museum. Looks to me like it could still be used in a demonstration on how to grind corn or grain. And if it isn’t of great historical significance, it would be a great educational aid for kids. Better that than a planter in some rich guy’s condo.

That’s as far as my limited knowledge goes. And I still don’t understand why people in Texas are finding me when they search for their mystery objects. But it happens every couple of months. And I do what I can to help. I hope this helps you Luke. Anyone who knows more can drop me a line.

Copyright © 2011 by J. Dennis Robinson. All rights reserved.

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