Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Port au Choix Workshop and Deliveries

Dorset seal processing tools from Port au Choix
Preparation for this weekend's workshop in Port au Choix is well under way.  I have a radio interview this morning and I'll be packing the car today with all of the rock and materials that we'll need for the two day course.  The gift shop in Port au Choix has been stocking my artifact reproductions and jewellery for more than 15 years and I have a small top up order of earrings to delivery for the upcoming season.  Parks Canada also ordered a few new reproductions to illustrate Dorset Palaeoeskimo seal processing at the site.

Side hafted microblade, bevelled edged tabular slate scraper, chert knife, and endscraper, 

This was my first time making a hafted tabular slate scraper like this.  Over the years an assortment of slate tools have been recovered from Dorset Palaeoeskimo contexts at Port au Choix.  Rebecca Knapp studied these tools for her MA thesis at MUN:
An analysis of tabular slate tools from Phillip's Garden (EeBi-1), a Dorset Palaeoeskimo site in Northwestern Newfoundland.  
This particular class of slate tools, tends to have a straight unifacially beveled distal end.  The sides may be square or slightly taper and are often bifacially bevelled, with an additional third abrading pass to blunt the bifacial lateral bevels.  The bases have long, narrow, tapering stems.  
To the best of my knowledge there haven't been any handles found associated with this style of slate scraper. I chose to haft it similar to a large endscraper, perhaps the larger size of the slate scrapers indicate that they were used in a two handed fashion.  It's also possible that they would have been hafted to a more complex handle at a 90 degree angle, like an adze.  This is possible, but I think that the relatively weak stem would function better inline with the handle and direction of force, like this reproduction.

Chert knife in an antler handle, with twisted sinew lashing.
Chert microblade, side-hafted into a wood handle with a whalebone brace tied in place with twisted sinew.
Chert endscraper in a wood handle with twisted sinew lashing.

Lately, I've been using more twisted sinew for Dorset reproductions because that is how most preserved sinew in Dorset contexts has been found.  If the reproductions are display pieces or if they are for my own collection, then I keep the sinew dry.  It is possible to wrap and tie off the dry sinew very snuggly without the use of any adhesives.  In this case I've added a layer of hide glue.  The glue isn't necessary to keep the tools together, but it will protect the sinew and make them more durable in a hands on setting.
A few pairs of glass an stone earrings for the Heritage Shop in Port au Choix.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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