Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Columns

June 27, 2009

YOUNG: Scrapers, tools used by the Native American females

In last week’s article, I illustrated two specific types of scrapers. One is known as the transverse scraper and the other was an end and side scraper. The transverse scraper is not as common as either the combined end and side scraper or just the plain end scraper. Probably the main reason for this was due to the difficulty of striking off a piece of stone which had an angled edge. Functionally it was just as good a scraper as any of the others.

Generally speaking most of the Archaic scrapers range in thickness from slightly over a quarter of an inch to more than a half inch in thickness. This thickness allowed the user to apply a lot of downward pressure when he or she was removing the membrane from the inside of a hide. As to what the process was when someone created a scraper is still debated. Any oval shaped cobble could be struck with a hammer stone in one single blow thereby removing a relatively round or oval shaped piece of chert. This may have been done during the beginning process of removing the cortex for the purpose of creating a thin biface and in turn, a finished projectile point. Whether the maker intentionally broke off a piece with which he could make a scraper is not known. However, many of the formal Archaic scrapers look as if they were specifically created from a larger piece of material solely to be utilized for scraping purposes.

Since most of the Archaic scrapers are fairly large and thick, the maker had the option of either holding the scraper with the thumb and first two fingers or attaching the scraper to a handle. Since the handles must have been made out of wood, none have survived in the open area archeological sites. A few have been found in dry rock overhangs and caves exhibiting some type of short handle but whether this was the norm is not known.

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