Net Weights

Net Weights

Stone net weights are found in Oklahoma but are limited in their distribution. They appear most frequently in southeastern Oklahoma, especially in McCurtain County, and along the Red River valley as far west as Lake Texoma. They probably occur in other localities in the state, but the distribution of this artifact is not well known.

These stones, here termed net weights, are also referred to as "notched pebbles," "notched cobbles," "fishing weights," etc., and were presumably used to weight fishing lines or fish nets. Our information about fishing equipment in prehistoric times, however, is limited, and it is possible that these items were used for some other purpose besides fishing weights.

The artifacts here classed as net weights are represented by essentially three kinds of weights: 1) notched pebbles or cobbles; 2) grooved pebbles or cobbles; and 3) Waco net weights.

Notched cobbles are probably the most common type. They were made from a rather flat pebble or cobble by taking a hammerstone and making notches in opposite sides of the cobble so the line-tie would be secure and the weight would not be lost. A few percussion blows with a hammerstone would batter or indent the cobble

 

edge producing a satisfactory notch. Such weights could be made quickly from flat cobbles that would be available in stream gravels or elsewhere. Examples of notched cobbles are illustrated in Figure 19a-e.

Grooved cobbles were also used. These are more rounded or egg-shaped cobbles that were too thick to be notched, so they were roughly grooved with a pecking hammer to provide a string groove around the stone.

The third type of weight is commonly known as the Waco net weight, named after Waco, Texas. This type, illustrated in Figure 19f, is more common in Texas but does occur occasionally in Oklahoma along the Red River valley, especially in the Lake Texoma locality. The Waco weight is made from a small rounded pebble or stone that was carefully selected for its shape or was sometimes partly shaped to form a thick oval which was then grooved lengthwise completely around the stone. The Waco weights are more consistent in size and general form than either of the other types.

The stone net weights appear in an Archaic context in Oklahoma. They are found in the middle and late Archaic period and are probably to be associated also with the early Caddoan occupations.

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