Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Carving bone with stone

I've been putting off learning the Oslo nalbinding stitch for months now, lacking a needle and not wanting to buy one or make one out of modern materials.

I recently got another block of obsidian that I don't mind knocking blades from and thought i'd try making another needle as well as carving it with an obsidian blade.

Rather than a lamb bone I used a wild deer bone this time. It's a lot harder, more brittle and prone to shatter. The take aways are that i'm now fairly certain paleo people smashed bones to make needles as carving is extremely difficult and time consuming. Cleaning up a bone shard into a needle, blade or harpoon isn't all that tough, it's the initial shape that's difficult.

Success loomed when I decided paleo humans had bones a plenty and that simply smacking mine with a rock to obtain one or two workable pieces was a realistic strategy given historical context.
Further, in the course of processing bones to obtain marrow, you'd be doing that same smashing anyway. Seems realistic that hanging onto choice, tool worthy, bone fragments is a natural extension.

I've now got a couple of predictably crude bone needles, but both are shorter than an i've seen in the record. I may go ahead and order the oh so sexy mammoth ivory needle i've been lusting after or i'll switch to making one from modern materials, I know how, just been avoiding it even though it would work at least as well if not better and take all of 20 minutes to turn out.

Incidentally, I looked at other technologies contemporary with nalbinding  and may have discovered a flaw in the theories of how it was done. I'm putting in my due diligence now and planning on writing a "white paper" about it with hopes of presenting at a conference if i'm correct.

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