The Extraordinary “Z Flaked” Dalton

Dalton Points were being made during the Late Paleo and Early Archaic periods for well over a thousand years. They have been found in association with extinct bison on the Meserve Site in Hall County, Nebraska and throughout the eastern United States. During this time Dalton people produced a wide variety of different styles of concave based spear and knife points. They also became extremely adept with pressure flaking and left behind some of the most skillfully made points ever found in North America. A few of the largest and most skillfully made points have been found in association with caches that may have been grave offerings.

Approximately 20 Years ago this large Dalton point was discovered in a cultivated field just north of Sedalia, Missouri in Pettis County. This “Z Flaked” Dalton has been hidden away in a private collection for the last 15 years and only resurfaced in early 2001. Over the years, flintknappers and collectors have talked about this point’s superior pressure flaking and have turned it into a legend of sorts.

The most significant trait, other than the fact that it is undamaged and its large size, is the very peculiar curved flaking that some people have termed “Z” flaking, although hardly any of the flakes make a true Z-shape. Many of the flakes do curve in a way that is atypical to Dalton flaking. These “zigzagging” pressure flakes are very uniform and parallel. No one seems to understand how it was done, and so far modern knappers have not been able to duplicate this technique.

It has been speculated that Dalton people may have used some type of pressure flaking device to drive off either “hollow ground” or “Z” pressure flakes. Most Dalton points would have been made with either a copper or antler pressure flaker that was held in the hand.

Many people seem to agree that this “Z” Flaked Dalton may be one of the most skillfully made Dalton points to have ever surfaced in many years. Is is made of white Burlington chert and measures 8-1/2″ long. It is presently in the collection of W. M. Wheless,III, Houston, Texas.