Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/687

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669
PREHISTORIC JASPER MINES.

and their work described, but the accounts of their white questioners have been vague, contradictory, and unsystematic. None of them explain the quarry, the turtleback, or the cache implement. Caleb Lyon, who saw about 1860 a Shasta Indian arrowhead maker at work, refers only to a slab of obsidian one fourth of an inch thick, split from a pebble and flaked by blows. T. R. Peale speaks only of hammering a mass of jasper, agate, or chert with a PSM V43 D687 Nodule of jasper flaked on one side from long swamp.jpgFig. 7 (about 1/2)—Natural Nodule of Jasper Flaked on One Side. Long Swamp, Lehigh, Pa. round-faced stone and finishing up the edges with a notched bone, as a glazier chips glass. Schoolcraft saw an anvil of wood or some hard substance placed on the thigh, upon which a piece of jasper was held at rest to be hammered by something undescribed. Captain John Smith tells how the Indian "quickly maketh an arrowhead of splints of stone in the form of a heart, with a little bone, which he ever weareth at his bracept." Torquemada and Hernandez briefly describe seeing Mexicans sending off long flakes of obsidian, with which certain Spaniards had their beards shaved, by pressing a wooden punch on a nucleus of obsidian held between the feet.

Admiral Sir E. Belcher (about 1858-'60) saw Eskimos, California Indians, and Sandwich Islanders fracturing chert blocks with slight taps of nephrite hammers, and then flaking the splinters wedged in a spoon-shaped cavity in a log, with a point of deer horn.[1] And so on. Lieutenant E. J. Beckwith and Catlin tell of flaking small pieces and thin slabs of quartz and obsidian, by direct pressure and indirect pounding upon a bone punch; and certain white men have recently made arrowheads out of curiosity or to palm them off upon collectors; but neither the conflicting accounts nor the amateur experiments explain the leaf-shaped hoards (Fig. 6), or the inchoate forms (Fig. 5) that litter the quarry refuse. Evidently some of the chief underlying features of the first and greatest of man's primeval arts have not been grasped. The living Indians who remember the process must be questioned again.

  1. See for these narratives, except Beckwith (Pacific Railroad Survey, vol. ii, p. 43), E. T. Stevens's Flint Chips, p. 57.