The first day of back-to-back flintknapping demonstrations went down without any major injuries to report. Today I was working with grade 8 and 10 students at their school here in St. John's. This is the second year that I've worked with this particular teacher at his school, following two years of Open Minds programming with his students at The Rooms. In the morning I demonstrated flintknapping and gave an illustrated introduction to Newfoundland and Labrador archaeology using the reproductions that I currently have on hand as props.
Full House and this is only half the class! 44 in all.
I think that seeing a flintknapper work a lump of stone into a finished tool helps humanize the past. A reproduction like a bow and arrow or a harpoon can help bridge the gap between the fragmentary, but tangible, archaeological record and the abstract ideas or behaviors that created that record. A tiny triangle of rock might represent seal hunting or a maritime adaptation to an archaeologist, but for most people that concept won't make sense until you see that endblade hafted into a harpoon, with all its moving parts and understand how a person would use it to secure the food that they need for their family. In the afternoon, the students worked ground stone themselves and made their choice of ulus or Thule Inuit men's knives. Its a good format, although I'd love to include an outdoors component in the future, perhaps and atlatl toss or archery range out on the soccer field.
Tomorrow, I'm taking everything back and setting up at The Rooms for International Archaeology Day from 1-4 PM. I'll be part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeological Society table. Tomorrow is the first day that you can officially become an NLAS member. We will be announcing our inaugural Annual General Meeting dates and our first guest speaker. We also want to hear from you about what services you think the NLAS should be offering members and what role you think the society should play in the Province's archaeological community. Photo Credits: Tim Rast