Unusual object in the Mayne Island Museum, and two celts.
The above is maybe the most unusual object I saw in the archaeological cases in my visit to the Mayne Island museum. As you can see, it’s labelled as a “large stone abrader” and may well be, I suppose. It’s thin, an the reddish cast and sort of laminate structure of the rock makes me think it is schist, a material commonly used for flaked “slate” as well as for saws. If it’s an abrader, I’d say it’d be a saw, since no sign (on this face) of any smooth abraded areas. However, the general shape seems pretty elaborate for any abrader or saw from my experience. Maybe an elaborate ulu-style knife intended to be hafted across the neck. Or, what I was wondering when I was there, maybe triggered by a false association to the shape, was something like the ground slate mirrors from the North Coast. These would be polished to a sheen, then wetted, thus providing a reflection, and if memory serves (and it often doesn’t) were used in rituals more than for popping blackheads. But it doesn’t seem polished enough for that. All the same, the shape rings a bell and rather than spend too much time looking through old Syesis’s (Syeses? Syesisis?? ‘copies of the journal Syesis’ – phew) I’m throwing it out here for comment.
There’s a few other pictures form the museum below.
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Posted in Archaeology, First Nations, Northwest Coast, Technology, Vancouver Island
Tagged Archaeology, artifacts, canoes, Coast Salish, Helen Point, mauls, Mayne Island, museums, Salish, Salish Sea, Woodworking
Haida carved cockle. Source: Peabody.
The Peabody Museum at Harvard has a predictably great collection from the Northwest Coast. I’m more drawn to the archaeological-type artifacts vs. the masks and baskets and argillite, but fill your eyes with the charming Haida carving of a cockle, above, collected in “Massett Bay”.
One nice thing about this collection is the accession ledger is also scanned in and made available. For example, if you go the the page for the cockle above here, you can click on the cockle picture for a higher resolution, on the first ledger page for the left hand side of the ledger book, and on the second for the right hand side. It is possible in this way to do some ad hoc fact checking of their descriptions to finding additional information. For example, the cockle’s second page contains the notation “taken from the interior of R/200”. Accession number R/200 turns out to be this unusual ?argillite carved box with inlaid shell.
Some of the other objects are equally unusual – I’d say there are more “wow – never seen one of those before” moments in this collection than any other I have seen.
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Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, archives, First Nations, Haida Gwaii, history, Northwest Coast
Tagged clubs, digging sticks, Haida, Harvard, mauls, Nuu-chah-nulth, Peabody Museum, Salish, sculpture