Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Selecting the Quttinirpaaq Stone

Serrated Endblade
Unfortunately, I don't have any chert from northern Ellesmere Island to make the Quttinirpaaq Independence I artifact reproductions from, so I've been going through my boxes of rock looking for good look alike stone.  The majority of the artifacts from the Kettle Lake sites are made on fine grained grey chert that looks a lot like the chert that I collect from Newfoundland, so they won't be any problem at all.  However, I had to find slightly more exotic materials for the tiny serrated endblade and the two microblades in the collection.

Microblades, the lower left two are artifacts
The microblades have a little more translucent quality to them than the chert that I collect myself in Newfoundland.  Translucent chert or chalcedony does show up in Palaeoeskimo sites in Province, but I don't know where the source outcrops are located.  Somewhere on the Northern Peninsula, I guess.  English flint has a similar appearance, so that's what I'll use for the microblade reproductions.   Most of the microblades in the photo to the left are made from English flint.  The original artifacts are the two microblades in the lower lefthand corner.

Silicified Coral flakes and Endblade artifact
The little serrated endblade is made on a very fine grained whitish-grey chert with a waxy texture.  I doubt the chert that was used to make the endblade found at Kettle Lake was heat treated, but it has a gloss to it that is similar to the inside of a heat treated rock.  The best match I've found so far was this piece of heat treated, silicified (fossilized) coral from Florida.  The endblade is so small that I can make it on relatively tiny soft hammer flakes - the kind of flakes that normally wind up in the garbage because they are too thin to work.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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