Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Newfoundland and Labrador Palaeoeskimo Harpoon Heads

Groswater (L) and Dorset (R) Harpoon Heads
I finished up the Groswater and Dorset Palaeoeskimo harpoon head reproductions.  The harpoon heads are all made from antler and antiqued in tea to better match the colour of artifacts that have been preserved in Newfoundland's peaty soil.  I used artifacts from the decades of research at Port au Choix on Newfoundland's northern peninsula as the reference pieces for these reproductions.

Groswater endblades are tied onto the ends of their harpoon heads, while the Dorset Endblades fit into a slot.  A sinew lashing around the open socket would help close the opening off and prevent the foreshaft from popping out as well as keep the harpoon line from becoming entangled in the opening.

These are all Groswater Palaeoeskimo harpoon head reproductions based on harpoon heads found at Port au Choix.  The one in the middle is fitted with an endblade based on artifacts from L'Anse aux Meadows.

Dorset Palaeoeskimo harpoon head (antler) reproduction with tip-fluted endblade (chert).

Streamlining the nose of the harpoon head helps it penetrate better into the seal.

Dorset Palaeoeskimo harpoon head (Left), Groswater harpoon head (Right)

Groswater Harpoon head (antler) with endblade (chert) and lashings (sinew)

The harpoon heads ranged in size, most of these ones in this set are probably on the larger end of the spectrum for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The plano-convex, boxed based endblades fit into a shelf cut into the antler harpoon head and are tied in place.

The Dorset Palaeoeskimo who lived in Newfoundland are Middle Dorset.  The harpoon heads in the background are reproductions based on other Palaeoeskimo and Thule groups.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. Beautifully crafted Tim! I may be biased toward the Dorset material culture, but their hafting mechanism is a most elegant solution.

  2. wonderfully executed!

  3. The Groswaters are fascinateing. They remind me of some of the designs found here in the US southwest.

  4. Great reproductions! We are usually missing the bone/antler/ivory/wood components in the Plains. It's good to see such excellent work, both scholarly and as a craftsman.


Related Posts with Thumbnails