An Experimental Archaeological and Digital Approach to Understanding the Manufacture of Slate Fishing Knives in Southwestern British Columbia
Despite longstanding anthropological concerns with the origins of intensive delayed-return subsistence economies on the Northwest Coast, the use and production of slate fishing knives has received little attention. Owing to specific design attributes, thin slate fishing knives were critical to the necessarily efficient and rapid processing of tens of thousands of salmon in a span of only three or four months. Although anthropologists have a reasonably good understanding of how slate knives were used, there is a paucity of ethnographic and historical data addressing how these critical tools were made. This poster highlights experimental archaeological research addressing the stages, techniques, and organization of slate knife production with an eye toward understanding variability in the byproducts of knife-making activities. A key feature of our project is a companion study of the tool-making process using large-scale, digital, multimedia data gathering and analysis techniques. Digital video and digital photography are used to capture important information on how toolmakers change their bodily orientation to stage-specific crafting work, the tool-making implements they use, and the social interactions and discourses that mediate the work. We argue that these data are crucial to an understanding of the embodied, tactile, and otherwise sensorial experiences of tool production.
Cite this Record
An Experimental Archaeological and Digital Approach to Understanding the Manufacture of Slate Fishing Knives in Southwestern British Columbia. Anthony Graesch, Annette Davis, Sarah Harris, Andrew Prunk, Hector Salazar. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443092)
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North America: Pacific Northwest Coast and Plateau
Abstract Id(s): 22572