Monday, October 13, 2014

Late Dorset Biface and Cover

This is an interesting pair of Late Dorset Palaeoeskimo artifacts from Button Point, Nunavut.  I saw these in the spring at the Canadian Museum of History while Chris, Lori, and I were looking at Dorset drums.  I can't say for certain that these two objects belong together, but they are a good match and illustrate how the carved wood covering might have fit over an endblade, knife, or lancehead.  

The upper artifact is a chert biface and the lower object is a wood covering that is designed to fit over the same style of point.  I think its probably a protective covering to protect the sharp edges of the biface between uses.  Although it is carved to a sharp point itself, so its not impossible that it is a functional wooden lance head designed to fit over an existing stone point.  I think the sheath option is the more likely scenario, but you never know.  The Dorset threw away their drills and didn't want hoods on their parkas.  It wouldn't surprise me if they decided that knapped stone tools made life in the Arctic too easy and decided to cover them up with really, really sharp wood instead.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast
Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of History

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