08 Aug Future Professional Flint Knapper
Each time I begin a new rotation at SEAC, I say that it’s my favorite. Excavating at a prehistoric Native American site, compiling data for a climate change study, teaching students about archaeology – each rotation has offered a new perspective and the chance to develop new skills within the National Park Service. My penultimate rotation is in Archaeological Collections and Information Management (ACIM) and, you guessed it, I think this one may be my favorite. ACIM deals with cataloguing artifacts, archiving project records, collections management, and managing the backlog of artifacts and records. My first week was spent numbering hundreds of artifacts, ranging from lithic debitage to ceramic sherds to animal bones. I not only perfected my tiny writing skills, but also was able to see first-hand the wide range of artifacts in SEAC’s collection. After labeling stone tools for a couple days, I had the AMAZING opportunity to make some stone tools myself! SEAC Archaeologist Thadra Stanton led a flint-knapping demo for the interns and field school students where we learned about percussion and pressure flaking, as well as the different tools used to craft the perfect stone point. After hitting myself instead of the core a few times, I eventually broke off a flake which I was able to fashion into a point. While my stone tool does resemble an arrowhead and would make an adequate weapon (of sorts), it is no where near the artistry and precision of the points I labeled while in the curation lab. I just need a little more practice before I’ll be able to add “flint-knapping” to my resume.