Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Day of Seal Needs Your Help!

Dress like these people - they're professionals.
We are looking for volunteers, large boiling pots, and propane tanks for a fun day of Hooded Seal processing on Saturday (or Sunday, if Saturday's weather is bad) at the university campus.  Eliza Brandy, an archaeology graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland is boiling down the seal skeleton so that it can be used in the archaeology department's comparative faunal collection.  Lori and I will be taking our sealskin thong along (its stretched to over 335 feet now) to shave with stone tools while we are waiting for the bones to boil clean.

If you are interested in helping out, we could use your hands and the loan of large boil up pots and propane tanks for the day.  We'll get started at 10 AM on Saturday, May 15th, 2010 on the lawn behind Queen's College (next to Bitters) on the MUN Campus (map here).  There is more information and a chance to RSVP on the event's Facebook Page.

I'm excited to see the skeleton being cleaned and I'm curious about shaving the hair off the sealskin.   I tested a small area and the skin is stiff enough that the hair can be scraped off fairly easily.  It reminds me of a muskrat tail when its shaved.  I'll bring along flakes of obsidian, various Newfoundland cherts, Bloody Bay Cove Rhyolite, and Ramah Chert to test.  Which material will be your favourite?

Only 334 and a half feet to go!
You'll want to wear old clothes, and perhaps even rain gear.  The skin has dried considerably, but its still going to be greasy. I didn't get a photo of the shaved section of skin until it was raining (again), so it looks a little messier in the picture that it actually is.  The skin itself is fairly dry, but still greasy to handle, like a piece of beef jerky and the hair is still holding a fair bit of grease.

Photo Credits:
1: John Erwin
2-4: Tim Rast

1 comment:

  1. Wish I could be there, I do love a good skeleton boil. Which reminds me, I've got a deer leg cold macerating in a bucket behind my shed. I should probably change the water . . .


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