Whilst away on holiday I paid a visit to the Whitby Museum, well worth it if you should get the chance.
Inside there is lots of treasure, and this is a photograph of a lovely Neolithic leaf shaped arrowhead found locally.
This, by contrast, is my point from today (and yesterday) made from a really thick piece of glass given to me by a friend, Stephen Poole.
It started out as an exercise in exploring the differing functions of hard and soft hammer in the process of reduction. In this respect it was successful as I now have some nice flakes for reference purposes.
However, the striking difference between the flakes produced by the different methods was also useful for me in deepening my understanding. Thinning a nodule to produce a handaxe is a process that I have observed (and filmed) a number of times. Karl Lee always emphasises the import of understanding angles. The stark contrast between these flakes is allowing something to fall into place for me (conceptually, not yet practically!) The hard hammer is perhaps more about producing angles to work with. The soft hammer more about exploiting those angles to thin the piece effectively.
I don’t like this arrowhead. It is too thick and lumpy and will probably go into the box in my back yard where my not quite resolved experiments end up. However, I have made it my point for today (made yesterday, finished today) which keeps the process, and therefore learning opportunities, going. What is intriguing for me is how the actual flakes themselves are helping me understand the process differently. Learning from the materials seems to encourage me to think about something I already know about in a different way. This thinking through objects is obviously something we do a lot within archaeology. It will be interesting to pick apart how the objects have added to my understanding in a way that observation and explanation have not. Perhaps the theme for another post.