(Photo by Pete Bostrom)

(Photo LK '08)

Larry's club, displayed at the Gilcrease Institute, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In 1948, Gregory Perino unearthed a shark's tooth club in the Ramey field at Cahokia Mounds. The original club was not intact but had been hit by the plow. In his excavation he found a walnut club with 2 flint teeth on one side and 1 flint tooth on the other. He screened the surrounding dirt and came up with 5 drilled great white shark's teeth and 8 flint imitation shark's teeth which had been attached to the club. The walnut was verified by the Illinois State Museum. At the base of the handle, Perino noted "a copper stain" which indicated to him that there was some type of copper attached to the handle.

During Perino's excavation of Md 34 at Cahokia, he discovered 4 more flint shark's teeth (3 with convex(Photo Gilcrease) bases) including this tooth(Photo Gilcrease) with a stem at the base. It had been burned and was found in a large pit that had a lot of burned material in it's fill. The pit has been interpreted as a ceremonial feasting refuse pit.. In 2002, a burned great white shark's tooth was found in Perino's back dirt during re-excavations at Mound 34.

 Many of the photos of the original shark's teeth, both real and  chert, on this page were taken by Larry during visits to the Gilcrease Institute, in Tulsa, Ok. Larry wishes to thank the Gilcrease Institute for their kindness in allowing him to show these pictures on this forum.

These are the original shark's teeth from the club (upper row and 2 on bottom right). The other teeth were found in Md. 34 at Cahokia. They are now curated at the Gilcrease Institute, Tulsa,Ok.   (Photo LK Click to enlarge)

(Photo Gilcrease)

The original shark's teeth were drilled like this , then tied to the club.

(Photos Gilcrease)

These are photos of the 5 original great white shark's teeth from the club. The 5 on the bottom had been drilled like the one on top but their dentin has decayed, removing much of the original drilled holes.

(Photo Gilcrease)  These are pictures of a burned great white shark's tooth from Md 34, probably found in the fill of the large burned pit, described by Perino.

(Photo  LK)


Here's the original teeth laid out in the way they might have been on the original club.

(Photo by Pete Bostrom)

Above is Pete Bostrom's photo of one of Larry's first replicas.

  (Photos by Gilcrease Institute, Tulsa Ok.) 

              Here are close-ups of the 8 original club teeth.

 (Photo LK)

Above are two shark's teeth from Greg Perdun's collection. The larger one is from Southern Missouri and the other is from the Cahokia Mounds area

 (Photo LK)

Larry demonstrates the use of the shark's tooth
club. This is a replica of one found by
Perino between Monk's Mound and Mound 34 at Cahokia.

Installing the teeth

    (Photos LK)  Cutting the grooves for the teeth. Larry has found that it is a good idea to pre-cut all of the grooves on one side, then install the teeth on that side, before continuing to the other side. The reason for doing this is to attempt to prevent cutting his knuckles as they brush against the installed teeth. Notice that the tooth in the end is already installed and the glue has set up.

   (Photos LK)  Here, the last 2 teeth, on the first side, are ready to be set into position. Larry uses hide glue, mixed with charcoal, for the adhesive.

       (Photo LK)   All the teeth on the first side are now set. Larry only got cut on one knuckle when he brushed it against the tooth on the end. That happened while chiseling the grooves. The glue is left to dry, for a minimum of 24 hours, before the club is turned over and the opposite side's teeth are installed.

    (Photos LK) Here, the second side is completed and the handle is being painted with extra virgin olive oil because it penetrates so well. The rest of the handle needs painting and the club is done.

    (Photos LK) The finished club. This one will be raffled off to raise money for the Powell Archaeological Research Center. The club is 57 1/2 cm.  (22 5/8 inches) long, from the end of the handle to the tip of the shark's tooth, and 17 cm. (6 5/8 inches) wide, at it's widest point. This is the eighth club Larry has made.

(Photo LK)
This club was made a little shorter and the handle was widened for a better grip.
  (  (Photo LK)
This club is in sand to show an edge view. There is a copper butt plate on this one.
(Photo LK)
This club is made with 5 real shark's teeth and 8 flint ones. The original club had 5 great white shark's teeth and 8 flint ones. These real shark's teeth are smaller by 1/3 than the ones found with the original club.

This is Steve's club (# 11), made in January, 2017.

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