(Photo by Earnie Jones)
Page 1 of 5
Click HERE for Pete Bostrom's blow-up on his lithiccastinglab.com site
On May 28th,2008, Larry received an e-mail from Dr. Tim Baumann:
Larry, "I still need your help with the Missouri Archaeology Month Poster.
The theme for 2008 is prehistoric
lithic resources in Missouri. The back of the poster will have unmodified
samples of chert and other lithic resources used by Native Americans in
Missouri. I am working with Jack Ray and utilizing his new book on Ozarks lithic
resources. Jack is also organizing the fall symposium on this same topic, which
will be held on Saturday, Sept.27 at Meramec State Park in Sullivan, MO. If you
would like to give a presentation at this event, please contact Jack.
For the front of the poster, I would like to show the entire assemblage of lithic debitage and tools made from a single Burlington chert cobble or similar light colored chert. I was hoping that you and/or some of your friends at the Devil's hole knap-in would be willing to supply the raw material and muscle to create this assemblage. I will then take the debitage and tools and arrange them with a computer design program into a spiral pattern with a background of obsidian or another dark colored lithic source."
Since this original contact, a few things were changed. Pete Bostrom was asked to do the layout and photography, for one.
As with any project, unexpected hurdles arise and it's up to the participants to modify their strategies and adapt to those hurdles.
After Larry blanked out the nodule, it became apparent that he was producing much more debitage and many more tools than he had anticipated. That's when he decided to stick with only a Late Archaic Assemblage. The wide variability in point sizes, shapes, and chert, along with the occurrence of many different types of chert tools, during the Late Archaic, seemed to gravitate toward that time period. Also, the tools could have been heat-treated if the stone had not worked as well as it did.
It also became apparent that this project presented a unique opportunity to try to understand the amount of material needed to produce certain point types. So, after the initial photograph of the raw nodule was taken by Pete Bostrom, and at the suggestion of Dr. Baumann, Larry saved all debitage, from all the point-making attempts, separately. This provided the opportunity to not only see what type of point could be made from a single spall but also, the other tools could be isolated to their specific spalls.
The sheer amount of material produced during the project, presented Pete Bostrom with problems too. How could he possibly display all that material and make it interesting to the general public? After all, that's what the poster's supposed to do, get the general public interested in archaeology.
1) It was decided to keep all debitage, from each spall, separate.
2) Keep separate notes and times on each spall using Larry's pre-printed forms. Like this:
3) Photograph the resulting point types with their debitage.
4) Use the debitage from each point to make additional tools.
5) Photograph each point type, its additional tools, and debitage, together.
6) Screen all debitage, from each spall, through window screen, to determine how much chert grit would have been available to do core-drilling for other projects, such as, drilling bannerstones.
7) Weigh all materials. (Dr. Bauman weighed all the material, in Larry's absence, due to surgery).
8) Present Pete Bostrom with all the material so he could lay out and take the photographs for the poster.
9) Present the photos to the printer so the posters could be made.
(NOTE: All pictures are by LK unless otherwise credited)
The original 14 lb. (6.350 kilograms) nodule of Crescent Quarry Burlington chert. Larry will try to get as many points and tools from this rock, as he can. The nodule was donated by David Klostermeier.
Larry decided to make tools and point types found within the Late Archaic tradition in Southern Illinois and Missouri. This allowed a larger variety of points to be made. Godars, Etleys, Hemphills, Matanzas, Cache Blades, and other point types are found in this period. In fact, many of them are derived from the same preform, the Late Archaic Cache Blade. Bannerstones are also found in Late Archaic and the fine flint dust collected from the manufacturing process was saved for core-drilling bannerstones. Sounds like another experiment, doesn't it?
The tools, made from the debitage, are not the only ones which could have been made. They were the most obvious tools in the mind of the flintknapper (Larry). It is likely that the Ancient Ones would have made more multi-functional tools and Larry has tried to accomplish that with some of the scrapers/gravers/spoke shaves combination tools. The high density of spoke shaves is most likely attributable to Larry's bias toward atlatl dart manufacture. He has used more spoke shaves than any other stone tool, by far.
Here, the nodule has been broken into spalls suitable for making projectile points, knives, and/or other tools. Two longitudinal cracks were found, leading from one end to the other, with a solid 1 1/2 inch thick seem between the cracks. Decortification was hampered by the inability to create viable platforms due to the positions of the cracks. The largest Etley knife, was made from the area found between the two longitudinal cracks. The quartzite hammerstone, included in the photo, was used for the decortification and spalling process. It took about 6 minutes to reduce the nodule to what is shown here. All material was caught on a tarp and bagged. The unused portion of the decortification debitage weighed 1.570 kilograms.
After each spall was worked, the tarp was cleaned and flipped over to prevent any contamination between spalls.
Here, are the tools used for the project.
A quartzite hammerstone.
A whitetail antler billet.
A hard sandstone abrader.
A copper pressure flaker inserted into a whitetail antler handle.
A copper notching tool, fashioned roughly after Ishi's.
A split cowhide, suede leather, leg pad.
On to: PAGE 2