Friday, May 6, 2016

Completed Alaskan PalaeoIndian Spears

Alaskan Spear Reproductions
Here are a few photos of the completed set of four PalaeoIndian Spears based on artifacts from Alaska which will be used in a travelling exhibit in that state.  They can be broken down into interchangeable foreshafts and mainshafts, which should make transporting them a little easier.  

PalaeoIndian spear reproductions:  Spruce, Birch, Alder.  Various cherts and flints.  Rawhide, gut, sinew.  Pitch and hide glue.

Fully assembled, the spears range in length from 77 1/2" to 84", with foreshafts ranging from 15 1/2" to 18 1/2" and main shafts ranging from 64 1/2" to 70 1/2".
 
Generally, the lithic tools that I make are much smaller than these heavy spears.  These have a nice weight to them and should make an intimidating statement alongside the Ice Age mammals of northern Alaska. 
 
Each foreshaft and mainshaft ends with a tapered "scarf" joint.  The mainshafts have tough rawhide sockets attached to them so that the foreshafts can be fit securely in place.  All of the scarfs have the same angle of cut and the shafts all have similar diameters so the pieces can be mixed and matched with each other.
 
One of the challenges that I often face in photographing these sorts of reproductions is finding a way to balance the projectiles on edge so that I can photograph them from the side.  This morning, I realized that the plastic safety covers for wall outlets work perfectly for holding pieces this size on edge.  You can see them at work in this photo, but I bet you didn't notice them in the previous photo until I mentioned them here. The prongs are flexible enough that I think they'll work on any projectile from arrows and darts to spears.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

2 comments:

  1. darts not spears... "spear" should be used for a weapon that never leaves your hands while a "dart" or "javelin" is thrown. I think the atlatl should be called a dart thrower... but that is my soapbox... nice reproductions or replicas.

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    Replies
    1. According to whom? You seriously suggest that nobody has ever thrown a weapon technically designed for stabbing? Take this quote from the Old English poem "The Battle of Maldon":

      "Sende ða se særinc suþerne gar" translated "Then hurled the sea-warrior a southern spear" - clear reference to a spear being thrown, gar being the Anglo-Saxon word for spear. Seems like the strict distinction between a stabbing weapon and a thrown weapon is mostly yours.

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