Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Clovis Spear

Point and Foreshaft
This is the finished Clovis complex spear reproduction made from the white novaculite fluted point that I talked about last Friday.  To the best of my knowledge, there's never been a hafted Clovis point found in an archaeological context, although there have been some mammoth bone tools found that have been interpreted as foreshafts by some researchers.

Complete spear, with red ochre staining.  Over 7' 1" long

More robust than the Archaic
The foreshaft I used on this reproduction is made from tamarack and has a tongue shaped proximal end to fit into a slotted socket on the mainshaft.  Its a design based on Maritime Archaic foreshafts, although I had to scale it up to match the more robust Palaeoindian spear point.  Still, this foreshaft is interchangeable with the Maritime Archaic spear reproductions that I made for myself.  That way, if this client would like to order additional hafted points in the future, I can fit the foreshafts to the mainshaft that I have here and they will fit onto the Clovis mainshaft at its new home in Alberta.

38cm long foreshaft 
The foreshaft with the spearpoint measures 38cm long, the mainshaft is 183cm long and assembled together the whole spear measures 217cm (a little over 7 feet long).  The main shaft is pine to keep the weight down. When I make a Maritime Archaic spear, I have caribou in mind, but with a Palaeoindian Clovis complex spear I wanted to scale that up into something robust enough that it could be used against a mammoth.

The foreshaft could be used as a knife
One argument for using foreshafts on Clovis spears that I find appealing is the notion that the foreshaft and point could have been removed from the mainshaft and used as a knife.  I love that sort of multipurposing in tools and given how widespread Clovis spear points were across the North American continent it seems like the toolkit would have to have served a lot of different purposes in different situations.

Gut and glue drying
I used gut and hide glue to haft the point into the tamarack foreshaft.  Clovis points have ground edges on either side of the flute indicating that they had some sort of wrapping around the base to bind them, so I feel pretty confident that this part of the reproduction is faithful to the original artifacts.  Different lashing materials and adhesives could have been used, but I really like the look and weight of the gut hafting.  It feels right and makes a very aerodynamic transition between the flat point and the rounded foreshaft.

The flattened foreshaft fits into a rawhide reinforced socket on the mainshaft.

Staining the mainshaft
Gut would have worked as the lashing on the the mainshaft socket as well, but I used rawhide just to give the piece a bit of different texture.  I also like how rawhide holds its shape as it dries and it creates a little bit of provides a little bit of extra rigid strength to the open sides of the socket.  I wrapped a strip of soft leather around the balance point on the shaft, to prevent slippage and as a bit of decoration.  Finally, the whole spear was covered in a oil and red ochre stain to help protect and antique it.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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