Eyes of Paint Branch

Conservation, Education, and Action for the Paint Branch and Its Watershed

Paint Branch History

Native Americans of the Paint Branch

This odd-looking fragment recently found in the watershed by a member of the Eyes of Paint Branch has turned out to be a stone tool fashioned by Native Americans 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.

Montgomery County archeologist Jim Sorensen identified the piece as a "utilized flake." The flake, which was discovered in the streambed of a tributary north of Fairland Road, is made of quartzite and is about 3 inches long by 2 inches wide. It has a thin, single-notched blade along its length, and it fits comfortably in the palm of a hand. Sorensen speculates that it was a multipurpose tool, used for scraping and cutting.

The Native Americans who made the tool may have had a village on the site where it was found, according to Sorensen. One theory is that the Native Americans who lived in this area at the time, 3,000 to 1,000 B.C., were of the Monongehela culture and had moved east from the Ohio valley. In this period, known as the late Archaic, the people lived in bands and were hunters and gatherers. Other typical artifacts of this period include quartz projectile points, a number of which have also been found in the watershed.

By 1500 A.D. the Monongehela had retreated back towards the Ohio valley, and Montgomery County was in a "no-man's-land" between the Monongehela to the west and the Piscataway to the south and east.