Monday, May 27, 2013

Maritime Archaic and PalaeoIndian Reproductions

Slate lance and a barbed harpoon head
I think the last time I showed photos of these reproductions they were being stained with red ochre.  These Archaic and PalaeoIndian reproductions are done and ready to ship now.  They are part of a larger order for an archaeologist at the University of Laval in Quebec City.  He works in the Arctic and Northern Labrador, so the remainder of the collection is made up of Palaeoeskimo reproductions.

The fluted point in the foreground
represents a time period several
thousand years earlier than the other
reproductions in these photos.
Everything is done now, except for a few microblades.  I worked on the microblades today, but I didn't get many made that I was happy with.  I'll try again tomorrow.  Fluting points and making microblades never seem to work out for me on the first day after a long hiatus.  I always need to wreck a few before I remember to be patient and really prepare my platforms.  Systematically producing a series of microblades on a core is one of the trickiest maneuvers that I can manage in flintknapping.  I'm sure there are even harder things that I can't do, but of the things that I work at time and again, microblades are one of the toughest.  Most of the time I'm very fond of Palaeoeskimo culture and their peculiar artifacts, but not on the days when I'm trying to make microblades. On those days, they make me feel ham-fisted and cranky, which I'm sure is just the jealousy kicking in.
The ochre helps age the pieces and also distinguish the Maritime Archaic reproductions from the other artifact reproductions in the order.

The fish spear, knapped point, and harpoon head are covered with ochre that has been sealed in with an oil based coating.    The slate lance has a dry dusting of ochre on it.  One of the challenges of making artifact reproductions is trying to come up with ways to make the pieces unique.  I don't want them to all look like they were made by a single person in one sitting.   By staining all of the Maritime Archaic Indian reproductions with ochre, they start to look like a coherent set, even though they are each made from different materials using different techniques.    I'll put up photos of the Palaeoeskimo reproductions once I get the microblades done.  They are made using the same basic chert, slate, antler and whalebone as these reproductions, but by using different manufacturing and finishing techniques, they should look like a different collection, made by  someone else from a different culture and time period.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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