Author Topic: Shell tool pondering  (Read 20929 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2014, 03:49:06 pm »
Parnell,  I visited Estero this summer!  Estero was my base of operations so to speak.  Traveled to Sanibel island, and Key Marco.  I got a much better appreciation for the environment they lived in.  This includes resources.  I realize the island vegetative communities have changed some, but it still helped walking the same beaches they stood on.  Also visited corkscrew swamp and some other wild places. 

I noticed rocks in the water that looked a lot like a loose grit limestone.  These looked like good grinding or pecking stones.   I began to wonder how they made holes in shell or cut out blanks.  Flint?  Shells?  Was this a striking effort or a grinding job?  I am certain they traded for what they wanted.  I suspect they may have been in charge of the marine shell trade with inland mound builders that were their contemporary.  Getting rocks should not have been a problem. What I don't have a good feel for is if they did trade for stones and if so how much?

Like you I realized there were no clear indications of archery use by the Calusa.  Atlalts have been found on Key Marco, but no bows and no arrows.  This by no means declares archery didn't occur, just that it is not definitive.   I am a native of Missouri so I have no earthly idea what half of those trees were down there, and certainly less knowledge of what might make a decent bow.  Your observations are interesting.  I have blanks cut for shell Celt and need to layout a shell adze.  My eventual goal is to craft a shell age bow using authentic tools.  Then I will paint it with Calusa inspired art and pigment.  I will likely use a Missouri wood because A)I have access to it, and B) it has to be a green tree to use the prehistoric technique. 

An experimental archeologist could keep a lot of students busy testing out hypotheses. 
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 03:53:20 pm by swamp monkey »

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2015, 12:25:24 pm »
I finally made time to mount the whelk shell adze blade to a handle with rawhide.  Next I will work on the celt and get it in a handle.  Then we test them out.   ;)

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2015, 12:27:33 pm »
Shell debitage (waste material) didn't really go to waste.  I cooked it in a fire to cause it to delaminate.  Once ground, the powder and fine flakes can be used as pottery temper.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 05:23:04 pm by swamp monkey »

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2015, 12:30:08 pm »
I started working on a queen conch shell and made some blanks for two celts and several gorgets.  I love that pink nacre.  Do you call that nacre on marine shells?

handles were cut last spring and have seasoned so I am ready to wood work as soon as my blade is crafted. 

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2015, 01:01:02 pm »
the freshwater shell debitage was also processed by placing them in a fire, crushing, and sifting to make pottery temper. 

I have also included a close up of a Mississippian era pottery pan that shows the mussel shell fragments.  the white flecks show up nicely in the grey clay.

Offline Parnell

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,147
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2015, 04:08:05 pm »
Fun to see an update on this.  Look forward to seeing any work you get done on I'd guess green wood?  Cool pictures.
1>1

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2015, 09:07:26 pm »
Conch shell celt and some handles for several different types of celts i am working on.

Offline Spotted Dog

  • Member
  • Posts: 700
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2015, 11:34:27 am »
This is all very interesting to me.  When I was portraying a native warrior I used fresh water clam shells from the Mississippi
to mix my paints in and ate with a twisted clam shell . Which on one side was sharp enough to use as a knife.
A three strand cord is not easily broken. Ecc.4:12

Offline mullet

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 22,651
  • Eddie Parker
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2015, 01:31:41 pm »
Swamp Monkey, A lot of the holes we see in the conch shells were done to remove the animal inside to eat. You can see this done everyday in Nassau, Bahamas where they sell fresh conch salad at street side stands. The pink portion of the shell is made into carved jewelry, also.
Lakeland, Florida
 If you have to pull the trigger, is it really archery?

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2015, 12:51:57 pm »
The first image below is the whelk adze at work.  This was a test for sharpness and edge durability.  I will work on sharpness.   Overall it worked fine.  I would like a little more weight to it tough. 

The next few images are a celt carved from a conch shell.  The handle is seasoned hickory with a woodpecker design I borrowed from the Calusa.  I tested it out too.  As with the adze i want to work on blade sharpness.  This is different than steel blade work, as I have to maintain a curved or convex edge so the shell can take the impact without breaking. 

Yes, I have a bigger project in mind than some little spout . . .  :) :) :)

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2015, 12:55:34 pm »
Celt blades  must push on the front and back of the hole created for them.  This celt curves due to the shell I cut it from.  The photo makes it look like it is touching on the long sides of the hole but I assure you the only real contact is in the edges of the celt. 

Thanks for looking. 

Offline swamp monkey

  • Member
  • Posts: 784
Re: Shell tool pondering
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2015, 12:58:38 pm »
This is all very interesting to me.  When I was portraying a native warrior I used fresh water clam shells from the Mississippi
to mix my paints in and ate with a twisted clam shell . Which on one side was sharp enough to use as a knife.

Spotted Dog,  Sorry I totally missed your question.  The recent images hopefully show which side of the celt I used for cutting.  The image of the shell blank didn't really chart my intentions.  Now if I misunderstood your question and you were asking what part of the conch I cut that from  . . . that is a different question and the answer is the part that creates the opening of the shell.  I can illustrate that if you need me to.  Sorry for the delay.  I wasn't trying to ignore you. 

Happy hunting ya'll.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 01:02:03 pm by swamp monkey »