Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Batch of Quttinirpaaq Reproductions

Reproductions (L) and Artifacts (R)
I have four more Independence I reproductions to show off.  As of this morning, I have good versions of 8 of the 11 artifacts in the set. This batch includes another biface tip, two burins and a scraper.  I was going to say that I was averaging two pieces a day, but if that was true, I'd be done by now.  The truth is that every day that I get two pieces finished has been preceded by a day where I got absolutely nothing done.  A friend of mine used to quote Oscar Wilde when he was writing his MA thesis; "I'm exhausted, I spent all morning putting a comma in and all afternoon taking it out".  Making these things feels a little like that.

Sorting through flakes
The days when I don't get anything finished are spent making dozens of flakes and sorting through them to find the most suitable pieces to start with.  I try to find two or three flakes that have the potential to be worked into each piece.  Sometimes I get lucky and the reproduction works on the first flake, but more often than not I make several practice versions before I get a piece that I'm satisfied with.  Often the first couple of pieces are necessary to learn how the piece was actually made.  Sometimes the reason for certain features on a stone tool aren't obvious until after you actually try making it.  That was especially true with the burins in this set.

Burin #2 Reproduction (L) and Artifact (R)
Each of the three burins from the Quttinirpaaq collection is different from each other.  I only have access to a small sample of the tools from Quttinirpaaq's Kettle Lake sites, so I'm not sure if these three burins represent three different styles of burins made at the site, or if every burin was randomly made.  One burin has a spall removed from the working edge and another spall-like flake removed from the side of the base.  It was made on the midsection of a flake with a prominent ripple that makes an unusual knob on one face of the hafting area.  The second burin was made on a lumpy flake, had at least two spalls removed from the working edge and has a roundish base (photo on the right).  The third one has a burin spall removed from one edge, and then a weird spall taken off the opposite side to create a sharp point.  That one has a square base and I still haven't made a copy of it that I'm happy with.

Quttinirpaaq National Park Artifacts (top) and Reproductions (bottom): from Left to Right, Biface Tip Fragment, Scraper, Burin #1, and Burin #2

Earred Scraper Reproduction (L) and Artifact (R)
The scraper in the set is a relatively straight forward, earred style of scraper.  The shape wasn't too difficult to match once I got a flake that had the correct dimensions, but I'm most pleased with the patina and cortex that I applied to the piece to finish it.  The original artifact had a patch of cortex on one facet that had a metallic sheen to it, so I mixed a few metal shavings in with my usual glue and rock dust mixture to create a sparkly cortex on the reproduction (photo above).  I don't know what the white growth or patina is on the underside the original scraper, but a bit of blow torched carpenters glue gave a great match on the reproduction.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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