Monday, July 5, 2010

Beaches Point Jewelry

Beaches rhyolite jewelry
The flintknapped rhyolite jewelry is heading out to the gift shop in the Burnside Archaeology Centre.  Given the Centre's proximity to both the Bloody Bay Cove rhyolite quarry and the Beaches site, the lead archaeologist, Laurie McLean, asked that I include some Beaches complex reproductions in the set.  The rhyolite that I use comes from Bloody Bay Cove and the cores are carefully selected by Laurie to ensure that they are not archaeological artifacts.  Each year, I'll be producing a small quantity of rhyolite jewelry exclusively for sale through the Burnside Archaeology Centre, located in the town of Burnside in beautiful Bonavista Bay.

The Beaches Site
The Beaches complex, which was named for The Beaches site, is the earliest link in the Recent Indian continuum on the Island of Newfoundland that leads to the Little Passage complex and ultimately the historic Beothuk.  The most diagnostic artifact of the Beaches complex are their side-notched projectile points.  These side-notched points tend to be larger than the later corner-notched Little Passage points and seem likely to have been used on atlatls, while the corner-notched Little Passage points represent the introduction of the bow and arrow to the Island.  In this case, the change in material culture seems to represent the introduction of a new technology, rather than the migration of a new people.
Bloody Bay cove rhyolite flakes at the quarry
Rhyolite is a tough stone to work.  That probably means that its durable, but I think that the biggest advantage that the Bloody Bay cove quarry had going for it was the size of the cores that could be found there.  There is lots of high quality, fine grained chert around the province, but it tends to have a lot of internal fractures and for the folks who wanted to make large stone tools the massive, solid pieces of rhyolite that can be found at Bloody Bay cove would have been one of the few options available.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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