Page:The American Indian.djvu/160

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116
THE AMERICAN INDIAN

where the same. A pebble is first brought to a generalized or blank form, by striking with a hammerstone. From this the desired implement is worked out, the fine chipping being by hand pressure with an antler or bone blunt-pointed tool. Holmes,[1] our leading experimental archæologist, has worked out in his laboratory many of the necessary processes, which, in the main, agree with those observed among living peoples.[2]


The American Indian Fig 55.jpg

Fig. 55. Pebbles Showing the Process of Abrading, or Pecking.
Boas, 1909. I


For pecking, our best data are from the Nootka of Vancouver Island, who occasionally resorted to it as late as twenty-five years ago.[3] As shown in the figure, parallel grooves were battered in the pebble to be shaped, then the intervening ridges pecked away, and so on. The battering tool was a long, oval pebble of tough, hard stone. When the approximate shape of the desired implement had been attained, it was finished by grinding on suitable stones.

This seems to have been the method employed wherever polished tools of similar materials have been found. But nephrite, the fine, green, jade-like stone found on the North Pacific Coast and in Central America, cannot be worked in this way. It can only be cut and ground. Again, our best data are from Canada and Alaska. The Eskimo successfully sawed off pieces of the required shape by the use of thongs and sand and water; in short, the same principle as is employed

  1. Holmes, 1897. I.
  2. Spencer and Gillen, 1899. I.
  3. Boas, 1909. I.