Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Completed Dorset Harpoon and other Arctic Tools

Arctic artifact reproductions
Here's a final look at the Dorset Palaeoeskimo harpoon that I've been working on for the past few days.  The harpoon, along with a ground slate Thule ulu and an antler, sinew, and copper-tipped Sicco harpoon head is packed and ready to ship to the Department of Anthropology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.  For the harpoon, the endblade, harpoon head, and foreshaft are based on artifacts from the excavations at Port au Choix, while the mainshaft is a spruce version of the Groswater Palaeoeskimo harpoon shaft found in the bog at L'Anse aux Meadows.  Both sites are on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula.

Dorset Palaeoeskimo sealing harpoon reproduction.  Chert endblade on an antler harpoon head.  The harpoon head fits onto a whalebone foreshaft that is inserted into a spruce mainshaft.  The mainshaft has sealskin lashings.  The harpoon line is sealskin and there is a short braided sinew lanyard fed through the single line hole in the toggling harpoon.

The little Sicco style harpoon head and slate ulu would be at home in a toolkit belonging to the earliest Thule migrants into the Eastern Arctic

You can see the tip-fluting on the chert endblade in this photo and how a thin braided sinew line may have been used to create a secure attachment to the harpoon head.

The ulu is based on an ulu blade with three holes from Labrador that is on display in The Rooms in St. John's.  The original blade is missing it's handle and lashing, so that part of the ulu is based on other Inuit women's knives found in the Eastern Arctic.
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. We are thrilled to have your work become part of our teaching collection!

  2. Beautiful work, Tim. Funny, just found a nice end blade here on a Sunshine Coast beach recently....


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