The Sage Hen Gap Fluted-Point Site, Harney
Patrick O’Grady, Scott P. Thomas, and Michael F. Rondeau
The Sage Hen Gap site (35HA3548) is a fluted-point site on the northern
perimeter of the Harney Basin. It is only the second site containing more than
one fluted point recorded in Oregon. The site is located at the crest of a long
draw between westerly uplands and the Harney Valley to the east. Buck
Springs obsidian occurs naturally on site. The site also provides a panoramic
view of the “gap” through which both animal and human traffic would have
passed. The site was initially recorded in 1984 (Crespin 1984) and remained
unevaluated until 2007, when Scott Thomas of the Burns District BLM relo-
cated the site form. Sketches of one fluted point and one Black Rock Concave
Base point prompted Thomas to make a site visit in February 2007, during
which his crew collected two fluted points. In June, a fourth fluted point was
Patrick O’Grady, University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, 1224 University of
Oregon, Eugene, OR, 97403-1224; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott P. Thomas, Burns District Bureau of Land Management, 28910 Highway 20 West, Hines, OR,
97738; e-mail: Scott_Thomas@blm.gov
Michael F. Rondeau, Rondeau Archaeological, 251 Rockmont Circle, Sacramento, CA, 95835;
CRP 25, 2008O’GRADY ET AL. 127
found by BLM archaeologists and volunteers from the Oregon Archaeological
A cooperative agreement brought the University of Oregon Archaeological
Field School to the site in July and August of 2007. They excavated 6.15 m³ in
the form of 24 probes and 5 test units (17 m²). Some 1,300 artifacts were
mapped with a laser transit, and all formed tool fragments were collected. All
artifacts were gathered from four collection blocks, resulting in a 4800-m²
sample (approximately 20 percent of the site). During these operations, a fifth
fluted point was found. A sixth fluted-point fragment was identified during
analysis of the site lithics (Rondeau 2007). All six of the points are surface
finds. All bear evidence of livestock trampling. The fluted-point base and
concave-base point collected in 1984 have not been relocated to date.
The five fluted points collected in 2007 have been described by Rondeau
(2007). Specimen 07-001, a concave-base fragment, lacks the blade element
and a basal ear (Figure 1). It measures 36.87 mm long, 35.65 mm wide, and
6.53 mm thick, and has a basal depth of 8.1 mm and basal width of 31.04 mm.
Single flute scars are present on both sides. A single guide scar runs adjacent
to one flute, while guide scars are present on both sides of the opposite flute.
Flute abrasions are noted on both sides, and edge grinding is present on
portions of the basal and lateral margins. The point is made of Buck Springs
298; C, 07-001; D, 07-297; E, 07-005; F, T-156; G, T-135). Illustration by Eric Carlson.
Fluted points (A–D, F) and bifaces (E, G) from the Sage Hen Gap site (A, 07-002; B, 07-
128O’GRADY ET AL. Archaeology: North America
obsidian, with a hydration measurement of 9.7 microns (Skinner 2007). Download full-text
Specimen 07-002, which lacks both basal ears and much of the basal margin,
measures 28.56 mm long, 32.11 mm wide, and 6.16 mm thick, and has a basal
depth of 1.51 mm and basal width of 25.24 mm. The distal portion has been
retouched into a blunt tip. One undamaged lateral margin has edge grinding.
One side has a single flute scar; the other has two. No flute scratches are
present. Big Stick obsidian was used, and the point has two hydration measure-
ments of 7.3 microns (Skinner 2007). Specimen 07-297 is a large concave-base
fragment with edge grinding on all margins and flute abrasions on both sides.
It is 34.49 mm long, 41.74 mm wide, and 8.25 mm thick, and has a basal depth
of 5.52 mm and basal width of 34.55 mm. A single flute scar is present on one
side; the other side has two. The artifact has not been submitted for obsidian
analysis. Specimen 07-298, a concave-base fragment, has visible edge grinding
on only one lateral margin. It is 29.64 mm long, 30.14 mm wide, and 6.52 mm
thick, and has a basal depth of 4.05 mm and basal width of 24.61 mm. Both
sides of the biface bear single flute scars and channel abrasions. Specimen T-
156, identified during the lithic analysis, is a triangular midsection fragment
with single flute scars on both faces and scratches in the flutes that appear to
be unintentional. It is 21.47 mm long, 25.96 mm wide, and 6.03 mm thick. One
of the three sides is a lateral margin; the two other sides are breaks that
culminate at a remnant portion of the opposite lateral margin. No edge
grinding is present.
Rondeau (2007, 2008) identified other artifacts that can be associated with
fluted-point sites. They include 2 fluted bifaces, 13 flute flakes, 3 gravers, 10
bifaces with overshot flake scars, 12 biface overshot flakes, and 7 nodule
overshot flakes. A stemmed point base, two Elko Series points, and a single
arrow point midsection were also found. The relative absence of more recent
cultural materials is intriguing, especially since obsidian, edible and medicinal
plants, and nearby game corridors would still have been attractions at later
times. Obsidian studies and other analyses are pending.
at the Burns District BLM Office, Hines, Oregon.
1984Site Form for Sage Hen Summit Pluvial Camp (BLM# CR-OR-02-1007). On file
Rondeau, M. F.
Oregon. CalFLUTED Research Report No. 42, Rondeau Archaeological, Sacramento.
2007 Fluted Bifaces from the Sage Hen Gap Site, 35HA3548, Harney County,
35HA3548, Harney County, Oregon. Lithic Analysis Report No.63, Rondeau Archaeological, Sacra-
2008A Preliminary Sort for Paleoarchaic Artifacts from the Sage Hen Gap Site,
Tools from the 2007 Reconnaissance Phase. On file at the Burns District BLM Office, Hines,
20072007 Sage Hen Gap: Obsidian Sourcing and Hydration Results for Twelve
CRP 25, 2008O’GRADY ET AL. 129