Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Aged Dorset Harpoon

Antiqued Dorset Palaeoeskimo
Harpoon Reproduction
Here is a look at the finished Dorset Palaeoeskimo harpoon for the Clyde River order.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to antique the Dorset reproductions in this set so that they would contrast with the reproductions representing the more recent Inuit and Thule cultures.  A harpoon stained this dark would probably look a little out of place in a Dorset camp 2000 years ago, but if an archaeologist dug up a perfectly preserved one, it might look something like this, once it was conserved and put on display.

Fully assembled, the harpoon is 140 cm long.

I'm happy with the lines and colouring on this piece. It is a
good hands-on piece.  A lot of handling and time are the best
 ways to age a reproduction naturally.
The tip-fluted endblade is knapped from chert and the toggling harpoon head is antler.  The foreshaft is whalebone and the main shaft is tamarack.  The designs for all of these pieces are based on Palaeoeskimo artifacts found throughout the Eastern Arctic, although I am heavily influenced by collections from Newfoundland and Labrador - especially sites on the northern peninsula, like Port au Choix and L'Anse aux Meadows. The lanyard attached to the harpoon head is braided sinew and the harpoon line is hooded sealskin.  The lashings on the main shaft are also hooded sealskin.  For the most part the pieces are held together by friction, although hide glue is used to strengthen the bonds in several places.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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