Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MUNArch Percussion Flintknapping, Part 1

Success; The Biface.
We had a great time at the first of this week's MUNArch flintknapping workshops last night.  There were 13 students around the tarp in Memorial University's Queen's College.  The workshop was scheduled to run from 5:30 to 7:30, but it was 8:00 before anyone realized the time and we started thinking about packing up.  He hung around for another half hour or so.  Everyone did very well and made good progress with the hammerstones and antler billets.  There were a good number of finished bifaces and unifaces, and lots of flakes and preforms that are primed for the pressure flaking workshops in March.

Jeans, goggles, close-toed shoes, leather pads. Appropriate protective gear for a roomful of knappers.


Boxes of tools and stone
Neolithics sent 100lbs of excellent rock and even snuck in a few pieces of mahogany and silver sheen with the black cores to keep things interesting.  We had a healthy number of minor cuts and slivers, but no real gushers. We lost track of the bandaids after the first 12.  I was wearing one myself, from unpacking my tools earlier in the day, but my biggest loss was a nice little diorite hammerstone that split in two on me during the very first strike.  It was that very first "big impact" flake removal to crack off a hard hammer flake and show how easy and predictable the process is, so of course the core stayed in one piece and my hammerstone fell apart in my hand.  I need to go bandaid shopping and hammerstone hunting before tomorrow night.

Sliver removal (Reenactment of actual event)
I was hoping to get everyone the skills they needed to make it out of the Lower Palaeolithic into the Middle Palaeolithic, but one guy made it all the way to Upper Palaeolithic blade tools.  Impressive considering we haven't even got to pressure flaking yet.

A human made this.
Thanks again to MUNArch for sponsoring this and supplying the rock and handling all the registration and organization.  I'm really impressed with the current batch of archaeology students at MUN, I can't remember ever seeing MUNArch so organized and active.

It doesn't take long to go through a box of cores.

Bifaces and unifaces
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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