Backed Knives and Subsistence Strategies at the Hurdy Gurdy Bridge Site

Author(s): Sean Larmore

Year: 2015


Excavations conducted near the ancestral Tolowa village of Naa-k’vt-‘at on the South Fork of the Smith River produced unexpected results in terms of the apparent absence of tools, such as harpoon tips and fishing weights, related to salmon fishing. Rather, an unusual lithic tool was identified, described as a "backed" knife produced from splitting a biface or uniface longitudinally to facilitate hand-held use. This paper will explore the possible function(s) of this tool in ancestral Tolowa assemblages and then compare the overall lithic assemblage of CA-DNO-1028 with the results from limited testing conducted at the ancestral village of Lhch’aa-ghii~li~ (CA-DNO-34) located downriver at the confluence of the middle and south forks of the Smith River. The clear identification of salmon fishing implements at CA-DNO-34 and the absence of these tools at CA-DNO-1028 suggest that the backed knives must have functioned in a capacity other than salmon processing and that upriver settlement was the focus of subsistence activities other than salmon fishing despite their availability.

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Cite this Record

Backed Knives and Subsistence Strategies at the Hurdy Gurdy Bridge Site. Sean Larmore. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397286)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;