Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gearing up for the Turkey Test!

Hi all,

We're back with a quick post about replicating a Bonito Side Notched Point for the next meat test (check for that in tomorrow).  I've decided to lump all of the tests where I demolish meats under the heading "Archaeology Test Kitchen", tell ya friends.  I'll post the newest ATK video, pictures and text tomorrow evening.  These things take a little bit of preparation so let's see a few things that went into tomorrow's Archaeology Test Kitchen bonanza.  I will be starting a new string of post under the heading "Research Spotlight" where I get with friends and colleagues to test the nuances of the technology that they research.

I'll be making composite antler/microblade atlatl projectiles for a test coming up soon and figured I should get a little practice in.  I also wanted to test the damage created by microblade points against that of a normal old biface so we could see some of the trade offs/benefits/weaknesses attached to each.  This gave us a test to see tissue damage and breakage rates between the two very different approaches to finding dinner.

For a bit of fun I decided to copy the morphology and flaking pattern of a Bonito Notched point (ca. A.D. 950-1150).  These are simple little leaf-shaped points that were made by folks in and around Chaco Canyon, NM.  The point type is named after Pueblo Bonito where around 80 composite arrows armed with this shape were recovered in the early years of excavation.  I'm excited to go back there this coming summer.
Up above Pueblo Bonito

I selected a simple flake that I made while thinning another point a while back.  Pueblo type points were made on biface thinning flakes all the time and it's quite common to see a little of the original flake scar on finished points.  A quick brushing along the margins with sandstone strengthens the working edge and supplies the first rough outline.  Here you're just getting an angle so you can start your first little flake pass.  Next I took a few small overpass flakes across the bulb of percussion left from the original flake removal.  It wasn't a big task, antler tools typically leave relatively diffuse bulb under the platform.  So you don't get a curved point you need to tailor the distal end of the flake back to keep things nice and flat.  A curved point will snap in a heartbeat and works about as well as a flying spork.

A few flake passes later and we have our finished preform.  Notching on these points wasn't too fancy, just simple shallow notched coming in from the side.  Oh! and one last thing, you'll find that a lot of folks oriented the preform so that the base of the point would be along the distal end of the original flake.  This means that they used the thinnest part of the original flake for the hafting element, why make a job harder!

The point worked out well and I matched the original illustration in a decent manner.  The weapon flew great too...more on that coming soon!

Also, here's a quick look at how the microblade stuff turned out.  I did a few things right, a few things wrong and learned a ton.  The point in the image has been inset with "microliths", tiny little triangular-shaped blades.  The actual microblades are to the side of the point and ended up being absolutely brutal. 


Archaeology Test Kitchen's Turkey Surprise!

No comments:

Post a Comment