Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Plains War Clubs

I had the opportunity to haft a couple of modern made stone club & axe heads last month (see previous posts). One of them was a double pointed stone war club head. This got me thinking how I could make one. After doing some research, I found that alabaster was a stone that was sometimes utilized. This stone is used for sculpture because of its ability to be chiseled, sanded, and polished. Historically, where this was available-shaped war club heads, atlatl banner stones, pendants, etc. were made out of alabaster. Traditionally, they are made using the peck and grind process. Pecking the 'blank' with a hammerstone to form its general shape, then grinding it with fine sand on a stone slab. A groove is pecked around the head to facilitate hafting. The head is polished with animal fat and hide. Warriors would then decorate their weapons as the 'spirit' dictated with beads, fur, fringes, scalplocks, etc. Basically, there were three main types of Plains stone war clubs. One was a simple ovoid rock with a pecked hafting groove. The second, what I tried, was forming a double pointed stone head. The third, was similar to the medevil mace...a stone was wrapped in a loose fitting of rawhide and attached to a handle. The handles were sometimes up to several feet long allowing them to be used effectively from horseback.
Alabaster is an interesting stone to work with. I'll have to try my hand at making some atlatl bannerstones. One experience that is always reenforced working primitively is-the wear and tear your body takes flintknapping, grinding stone, scraping hides, etc. You really appreciate the modern tools in comparison.


Fenlander said...

Hi Mark. Keep up the good work and Happy New Year. Fenlander

Wolfies Rants said...

I find your clubs to be totally awesome. I myself make reproductions of jawbone war clubs and have made a few gun stock tomahawks. Being that they had to work with what they had available at the time, in my research I have found that a lot of clubs were based on necessity and personal style. You have a great talent my friend...Keep it up.


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