Friday, May 8, 2015

Northern Archaic Reproductions made from Alaskan Obsidian

Obsidian dart point and reference drawing
 I'm working on a series of knapped obsidian and chert dart points for archaeologists in Alaska and the Yukon.  The Alaskan set is made from obsidian from Wiki Peak, which has been a real pleasure to work.  The stone has nice grey and black flow banding, although the grey doesn't really show up in these photos.  Two of the finished projectile points will be hafted in split birch shafts based on ice patch darts from the Yukon.  The other three pieces show the progression of making a dart point from a hard hammered flake, through a soft hammered preform, and on to a pressure flaked complete point.  I wanted to save the corresponding flakes for each stage, which is why I needed to clean up the winter's mess and lay out a fresh tarp in the workshop.

A flintknapping reduction sequence from a hard hammer flake (left) to a soft hammered biface (middle) to a projectile point finished with pressure flaking.

In this photo, the knapped obsidian is resting on the reference photos and drawing used to model the points.  I primarily used the line drawing in the upper right hand corner to guide the size and stem style for the three completed dart points.  Looking at the photo here, I may trim the ears slightly on one or two of the points before I haft them.  There is a fine line between a wide side-notch and an expanding stem and I think my points might have more of a side-notched than stemmed feel to them at the moment.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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