William A. Ritchie

The Enigmatic Archaic Site at Lamoka Lake, New York

The Enigmatic Archaic Site at Lamoka Lake, New York

Arthur Parker had long suspected that New York State’s prehistoric past featured a very ancient era before the invention of pottery and agriculture.  By the early 1920s, he referred to this poorly-documented period as the Archaic Algonkian (Parker 1922).  He also recognized another early culture that he called Eskimo-like due to the presence in artifact assemblages of polished stone (especially slate) items similar to those used historically by Inuit people.  The Eskimo-like artifacts included ground and polished ulus (a.k.a. semi-lunar knives) and projectile points or knife blades, which in some places were found with other polished stone types such as plummets and gouges (these later were grouped together as diagnostic types of Laurentian Archaic assemblages; Ritchie 1944).  Parker (1922) was not sure which was earlier, the Archaic Algonkian or Eskimo-like culture.