Friday, September 28, 2012

Grooved Maul

This is the stone head of a hammer that was used by Plains Indian groups for processing bison carcasses.  Its called a grooved maul because of the pecked channel that was tapped out around its middle.   Its made on a glacially rounded and deposited quartzite cobble and you can see how one end has been flattened through use.  A maul like this would have been hafted to a handle made from a bent sapling that was wrapped through the notch and tied in place.   This one was found northwest of Vulcan, Alberta and would have been used to break open bones to extract marrow or pound dried meat to make pemmican.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That's a lot of cranes

Sometimes you don't notice stuff that's right under your nose.  For the last few summers there have been a pair of sandhill cranes nesting near our archaeology sites on Baffin Island.  

They're kind of loud, but I look forward to seeing them every year.

I'm back out west and went for a drive around the family farm on Monday and heard a familiar squawking in one of the fields.

Turns out we have dozens of sandhill cranes living in (or at least passing through) one wet corner of our land.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back in Alberta

Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Friday, September 21, 2012


In the 1930s and early '40s my father was given a different board game every Christmas from his godmother.    A couple years ago when I was home I brought three that I can remember playing with as a kid and had a friend of mine frame them.  They are hanging together in the basement.

Chutes and Ladders

Chutes and Ladders, Parcheesi, Steeple Chase 
Detail from Chutes and Ladders.
Photo Credits. Tim Rast
Framing by Janet Davis

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tree for all

Not a hedge - that's one end of the pile
We had a bit of a hurricane here the other week.  Our property escaped unscathed, but there were some power outages and minor property damage around the city.  The trees were the hardest hit.  There are some massive collection piles located around town, but this being St. John's its turned into more of a Have a Tree, Leave a Tree, Need a Tree, Take a Tree situation.

Nothing too special, a few sticks
I went down looking for nice straight sticks for harpoons and spear shafts and forked wood for adze handles.  While I was there I saw two cars dropping off torn branches and another truck sawing up chunks to take home to burn.  So in my short time there, it was 50/50 between people dropping off and picking up.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, September 17, 2012

What do you do with panorama photos?

I like taking panorama photos, like this 360 degree shot. 

Or stitching them together in photoshop, like this composite made from 5 photos.

But what do you do with them?  They're awkward to print and you need to zoom and scroll through them to really appreciate the detail.

Sometimes they'll work as banner images, but they tend to be too long and skinny for  things like Facebook cover photos.  What do you do with your panorama shots?
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, September 14, 2012

How can I help you?

Don't worry - I'm friendlier on e-mail.
The field beard is gone, or at least tamed and its the time of year to set up a new fall/winter routine in the office and in the workshop.  I don't have the same report writing responsibilities as last winter, which means a lot more time to dedicate to Elfshot.  Right now, I'm working on some quotes for reproduction work and workshops to take place over the winter.  If the first week home is any indication, its going to be a busy winter in the studio and on the road, so if you've been contemplating placing an order or arranging a workshop with Elfshot, then now would be the time to do it, before my schedule fills up too much. I hope to hear from you.

My e-mail.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Arctic Peoples and Archaeology: Inuit Heritage Trust

 Did you know that there is an interactive online website all about the history of the people of Nunavut called Arctic Peoples and Archaeology?  It was originally developed as a CD-ROM by the Inuit Heritage Trust (IHT) and the Nunavut Department of Education (you can still purchase the CD-ROM through the IHT store for $65) but its also available online for free.  Its well illustrated and narrated in Inuktitut, English, and French.  If you are at all curious about archaeology or the Canadian Arctic its worth checking out.

Photo Credits: Screen Captures from Arctic Peoples and Archaeology online presentation.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A 123D Catch model of a Tent Ring

The first frame in the video is a similar angle to this photo
This is an experiment using Autodesk 123D Catch to record a surface tent ring prior to excavation.  I was inspired by Matthew Betts great post-excavation models from his work this summer in Nova Scotia.  The 3D model shown here was rendered from 20 photos taken approximately 15-20 degrees apart in a circle around the structure.  I'm pretty happy with the results and regret not recording more features in this way, before and after excavation.  The rendering took about 30 minutes back at home, although I spent most of a day fussing with saving the video clip and uploading it to Youtube.  My desktop has poor video capabilities and I wasted half a day on it before giving up and redoing it all on my laptop.

Click the full screen button to see more detail.

In order to make the models you need to upload all of the photos that you want to use to the 123D Catch website, where they build the scene and send you an URL where you can retrieve it.  I had internet access over the summer, but it wasn't fast or reliable enough to do that much uploading/downloading - but here at home the whole process takes a few minutes.  This particular scene worked for me on the first pass without any additional editing.  I just had to trim some edges to create the clean rectangle in the video clip and then set up the animation track.

This is one of the 20 photos that I took on a particularly foggy day to build the 3D model in the clip.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, September 7, 2012

One for the history books...

We're all back home safe and sound.  It was a great summer and I'm missing everyone already.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heading home again

The worst thing about fieldwork is leaving at the end of the season.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Bears Came Back

The mother and cubs that showed up for breakfast a couple weeks ago returned last friday for lunch.

Two out of three bears agree; cheeseburgers are worth the risk.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast
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