dSpace: Dentalia Shells on the Northwest Coast

Dentalia Source "mu7is" in Hesquaht Harbour.  From Barton M.A. p. 116

Dentalia Source "mu7is" in Hesquiat Harbour. From Barton M.A. p. 116

Andrew Barton did an excellent job reviewing the biology of the Scaphopoda, the archaeological record of dentalia use and trade, and the technology available to harvest these small creatures with tusk-shaped shells.  Overall, he brought a lot of nuance to a topic that had been somewhat over-simplified.  For example, there is no real evidence that these shells were only available at depth from the NW corner of Vancouver Island.  Barton reports on attempts to replicate ethnographic dentalia “spears” (more like a rake, or a pasta fork).  You should be able to download a copy of Fishing for Ivory Worms : a review of ethnographic and historically recorded Dentalium source locations from SFU dSpace.

Dentalia necklace by Josephine Ingraham, Clatsop/Chinook Tribes

Dentalia necklace by Josephine Ingraham, Clatsop/Chinook Tribes

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