I just stumbled across these pictures, which I took about a decade ago at the Delaware State Museum. These are spear points made of rhyolite found at the Coverdale Farm Site in central Delaware; many, many were found there, most of them still in private hands. Rhyolite was imported into the coastal plain from quarry sites in the Appalachian Mountains. The cool thing about Coverdale Farm and the nearby Barker's Landing Site is that most of the points found at both sites were rhyolite, rather than perfectly acceptable local stone. The two big points to the right and left were not meant to be used. Objects of this shape have often been found in caches, buried in holes in the ground either to be retrieved later or as some kind of offering. This may be the form in which the rhyolite traveled from the quarries to its users on the coast. Or, they may have been a sort of prestige item, more like currency or gold bracelets than actual stone tools. They suggest the presence 4,000 years ago of the earliest stage of stratified society, a chief or big man who used his control of trade in luxury imports like rhyolite to emphasis his position.
About 1500 years later, the same sort of thing happened again in the same place. These are also from the Coverdale Farm Site, but they are related to the Adena culture of the Ohio Valley. The object on the left is a spear point in the classic Adena form, and the other artifacts are made of Flint Ridge chert imported from Ohio or Indiana. Adena was a "mound builder" culture, where leaders were buried in impressive tombs filled with a wide array of special artifacts. Across the east from Delaware north to Maine archaeologists have found the odd Adena site, an isolated collection of Adena-related artifacts amidst a material culture that is otherwise unchanged. Certain ambitious chiefs seem to have adopted the Adena ritual pattern. Perhaps they actually became vassals -- "sons" or "nephews" in Indian diplomatic parlance -- of powerful chiefs out west, obtaining these special goods. Or perhaps Adena was more of a religious cult, and the isolated collections of Adena artifacts represent the conversion of chiefs by evangelists from the Ohio Valley. Either way, the Adena way never lasted long in any of these remote outposts. Each of the half a dozen Adena sites around the Chesapeake Bay is small and many miles from any of the others, and each seems to represent only one or two generations of burials. The attempt to imitate western ways either failed or served its purpose, and either way it was abandoned. Life then went on much they way it had.