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Knapping by the River – Archaeology Southwest

Jorge Barceló, College of Arizona

(June 29, 2022)—As we speak [6/10/22] was my first day of experimental archaeology with Allen Denoyer, together with Aleesha and Tots. After a brief, steep hike right down to the San Francisco River, we sat on the financial institution and Allen started to indicate us the fundamentals of flintknapping.

First, we chosen our hammerstone and obsidian nodule from the Mule Creek supply and regarded for a great platform to strike the primary flake. The perfect materials for knapping a blade or level would include a excessive degree of silica, which is what makes up glass and creates sharp edges. Obsidian is volcanic glass.

Hammerstone and obsidian nodule resting on a leather pad that I used to prevent flakes from stabbing my leg and hand.
Hammerstone and obsidian nodule resting on a leather-based pad that I used to stop flakes from stabbing my leg and hand.

Ideally, Allen defined, you wish to strike on some extent that’s lower than 90 levels to start out eradicating the cortex (outer layer of the cobble) to disclose the pristine black obsidian. Making ready a platform—the hanging level for the hammerstone—is important to getting good flakes throughout the core of the nodule. That is accomplished by rubbing down the sides to uninteresting it so it doesn’t crush when struck. The secret’s to attempt to management the power that’s transferred out of your arm into the nodule/flake, making a bulb of percussion that’s seen as waves throughout the stone.

Allen Denoyer helping Aleesha, Tots, and me one-on-one to find and make good striking platforms.
Allen Denoyer serving to Aleesha, Tots, and me one-on-one to search out and make good hanging platforms.

With a great platform to strike, you may flake off a pleasant skinny piece that shall be prepared to start out strain flaking with an antler tine. Not each flake will come off completely, and plenty of could have humps and ridges that may be taken down with a billet constituted of the bottom of an antler. As soon as the flake is thinned down sufficient, the billet is used to kind the essential form of the purpose by beveling the sting to prepared it for strain flaking. A tine constituted of the distal finish of an antler is the best software for eradicating small strain flakes that create the ultimate form of the purpose. You possibly can then use the tine to make a pointy and/or serrated edge.

This shows the platform on the tapered end and the waves of energy that went through the rock as it was struck.
This reveals the platform on the tapered finish and the waves of power that went by way of the rock because it was struck.
An example of a good deep pressure flake that did not break (as they usually do) when struck off the face of the point.
An instance of a great deep strain flake that didn’t break (as they often do) when struck off the face of the purpose.

After the purpose is completed, a notching software—additionally constituted of antler—is used to create varied types of notching, akin to nook or facet, or a mix of each. The notcher can be used on the sting to flake out even tinier flakes to attain good serrated edges.

Right here is my level able to be pressure-flaked.

As soon as the purpose is to form, sharpened, and notched, it is able to be hafted onto a shaft or deal with utilizing pine pitch or lack from creosote.

Here is the finished point among the debitage that resulted from the process of flintknapping.
Right here is the completed level among the many debitage that resulted from the method of flintknapping.
Here is my finished point on the core it came from. You can see how much material was removed to form it.
Right here is my completed level on the core it got here from. You possibly can see how a lot materials was eliminated to kind it.


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