Monday, March 5, 2012

Alberta Knapping Part 1

Knapping in Calgary
This knapping vacation is drawing to a close, but I've enjoyed every minute of it.  The Archaeological Society of Alberta really knows how to put on a good show.  The Medicine Hat club had a full turn out and lots of new faces at the demonstration and talk last Thursday, and we had the biggest, longest Calgary flintknapping workshop ever over the weekend.

Explaining a harpoon in Medicine Hat
In Medicine Hat, I demonstrated making a Dorset Palaeoeskimo stone knife for more than 40 people at the Police Point Park Nature Centre.  It was a great venue, and my host and the event organizer, Janice Andreas, did a fantastic job of pulling everything together.  There were lots of great questions and enthusiasm during the demonstration and some interesting chats with folks afterwards.  If you're interested in archaeology and live in southeastern Alberta, I certainly recommend becoming a member of the Archaeological Society in Medicine Hat.

Knapping demonstration at Police Point Park Nature Centre, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Jason explaining a technique
In Calgary, Jason Roe and I led a weekend knapping workshop at the University of Calgary.  The event was also sponsored by the Archaeological Society of Alberta and Mike Turney was handling all the registration and organizing on behalf of the Calgary centre.  I'm really envious of the level of enthusiasm and organization amongst the Archaeological Society of Alberta across the Province.

A full house. A very full house.

Allan's set points from Alberta
On Saturday, we had 27 knappers of all levels of experience working in one big group around the tarp.  I think everyone got a lot out of it. In the past the new and experienced knappers had worked in separate rooms and even though this is my 3rd year leading these workshops with Jason, this was our first opportunity to sit down and knap together.  On Saturday, everyone learned the basics of hard hammer and soft hammer percussion and pressure flaking.  We went through lots of rock and I think most everyone produced something by the end of the day.

The workshop gets bigger and better every year.

Rick working on his big Clovis
With such a big group, it was great having two instructors and lots of experienced knappers spread around the room.  There were some real talented and generous knappers in the room.   I made some new friends and got to see lots of old ones, and, of course, I learned a lot again.  I really appreciate the Society's invitation to take part again this year.  Later this week, I'll put up a few photos from Sunday's session, when we got into making arrows and hafting some of the points produced over the weekend.

Rick Rowell treated us to a big beautiful Clovis point that he made on an obsidian biface that Jason had begun.   I have a few more shots of this point to share next time.  Rick donated it to the Archaeological Society of Alberta and Mike Turney is hafting it.  The plan is to raffle the finished spear as a fundraiser for the society.
Photo Credits: 
1,4-9: Tim Rast
2,3: Janice Andreas

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