Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pendants in progress

I have a few pendants in progress in the workshop.  The wood shaft on the obsidian arrowhead will be trimmed down and drilled so that it can be strung on a leather cord.  The walrus ivory bear head above it is one of two that I'm working on at the moment.  The one shown here is inspired by Dorset Palaeoeskimo artifacts from the High Arctic.  Its coming along nicely, so far, although I want to leave the finishing for at least one more day.  I don't like carving too quickly.  I think slower carvings turn out better.  It takes time to plan each cut.
 Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ground Slate Lance heads

Slate lances and ivory polar bear
head preforms
I finally have something from the workshop to share.  I finished a pair of Dorset Palaeoeskimo slate lance heads today.  I need one for an upcoming order and the other will be a spare to keep in my display collection that I tote around to demonstrations and talks.  While I was in the cutting, carving, and grinding mode, I started a couple small ivory bear heads.  Again, I need one for an order and the other will go into my collection.

Dorset Palaeoeskimo ground slate lance heads.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, November 14, 2014

Slow return to the workshop

I'm slowly returning to the workshop after what seems like months away.  I did spend a bit of time working on projects in September, but between travel, office work, and NLAS responsibilities since then, its been impossible for me to schedule any time in the workshop, let alone put in a full day's work.  Hopefully that will change next week and I can get some orders filled before Christmas.  Its going to be a busy winter season making reproductions, if I can just make the time to get back into my studio.  I'm very grateful to have such patient clients.
Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

French Archaeology in Newfoundland and the NLAS AGM

Dr. Amanda Crompton speaking at The Rooms
To cap off a busy day, the NLAS helped organize a talk this evening at The Rooms followed by our 2nd Annual General Meeting.  Amanda Crompton spoke about her research into understanding the French history of the region of Newfoundland called the Chapeau Rouge. This prominent landmark, which looks a little like a squashed hat, has an interesting, but poorly understood history.  With at least 50 people in the room, this was the best attended NLAS event to date.  You can view Amanda's talk on the NLAS youtube channel here.

Immediately following the talk, the NLAS held a brief AGM where we presented the results of our last year's activities and talked a little bit about our future plans.  You can view the AGM on our Youtube Channel here.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, November 10, 2014


Herculaneum is the smaller, better preserved, sister site to Pompeii.  Both were simultaneously destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.  I've heard many people suggest that if you only visit one, then Herculaneum is the site to see.  I think you should see them both - Pompeii is sprawling and massive.  The scale of the site is tremendous and you can literally get lost among the ruins.  Herculaneum was covered by hot ash and gases, not by tonnes of rubble, so the buildings are more complete, often with second and third stories in tact and the extreme heat charred and preserved a lot of wood as well.  

Considering it was destroyed nearly 2000 years ago, it's remarkably easy to picture Herculaneum as a living vibrant port city.

The blackened timbers are original wood.  The painted figures and advertising on the walls are original, too.

Mosaic floors were everywhere and tended to be more complete than what we saw in Pompeii.

A glimpse inside a second story room. 
These blackened doors are the original charred wood remains.

I've seen houses listed for sale in worse condition.

Another tile floor

Metal grates in the windows are still in place.

Wooden shutters, lintels, and doors all preserved.

I think he's using the knife to pry out the spear.  He obviously studied medicine at the University of Talladega Nights.

On the way out of the town you can catch glimpses of the bodies of the townspeople killed in AD 79.  People were trapped by the sea as they tried to escape and only their bones remain.
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, November 7, 2014

NLAS AGM and Talks, November 12&13

The Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society is holding its Annual General Meeting on the evening of November 12 at The Rooms.  The AGM follows a talk by Amanda Crompton.  The next day, members of the Coastal Archaeological Resource Risk Assessment (CARRA) Project will be speaking at the Rooms about their work.

Photo Credits: NLAS

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Elfshot News

Flintknapping for Arch 2480
Earlier this week I did a flintknapping demo at Memorial University of Newfoundland for the Archaeology 2480 students.  The instructor, Amanda Crompton, took this photo and submitted a brief write-up to the department website, which you can view here: Archaeologist Tim Rast demonstrates flintknapping techniques to students.  If you're in St. John's you may recognize Amanda's name because she is giving an NLAS talk at The Rooms next Wednesday evening (Nov 12, 7PM) called "FINDING THE CHAPEAU ROUGE: THE HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF FRENCH SETTLEMENT IN PLACENTIA BAY BEFORE 1720", and if you're a member of the Canadian Archaeological Association, then you may recognize Amanda's name as the Conference Chair of the 2015 CAA Conference being held in St. John's at the end of April.  

Me and my camera
Speaking of the CAA conference, I have some overdue news to report from the 2014 Conference held in London, Ontario.  I won a Canadian Archaeology Association YouTube Award! Its for the video clips that I made last spring talking about the Dorset Palaeoeskimo drum reproductions and the sequence of markings that adorn the drum frame.  I was nominated by Matt Betts and the award was sponsored by the Canadian Museum of History.  I wasn't able to attend the conference for the announcement or to receive the prize, which was waiting for me in a pile of post-fieldwork and post-Italy mail.  The awards committee let me know about the prize shortly before the conference, which was when I was gearing up for the field, so I pre-emptively spent the prize money on a new camera.  It seemed appropriate, since my last camera died while I was visiting the Canadian Museum of History in the spring to research the Dorset drums.  I bought a Nikon Coolpix P600 and I've used it to take almost all of the photos shown on this blog since June. 

Photo Credits:
1: Amanda Crompton
2: Lori White
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