Nine flint points on a finger.

Nine Points on a Finger

Nine flint points on a finger.
Nine Points on a Finger. Photo by Buzz Hoffmann

This is a photo taken from Brian Hoffmann’s photostream on Flickr. These points are from his fieldwork in Alaska. The usual favoured explanation is that these are toys, but Brian thinks they are more likely to be tools. He’s certainly finding a lot of them, and he keeps on finding them. How many points do you have to find before you start thinking they have a serious purpose.

I chose this as Photo of the Week because it fits the tools theme, and the scale of the points is extraordinary. If I were digging the site I’d be cheerfully trowelling away these without noticing them. Even if someone said “Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” and pointed them out to me, I still think I’d be missing a lot of them. The other reason is that it gives me a chance to plug his blog at Old Dirt – New thoughts, where you can currently follow a dig in Minnesota.

Photo: Nine Points on a Finger by Brian Hoffmann. Licenced under a BY-NC-SA licence.

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Alun Salt

Alun Salt is an ancient historian / archaeologist based in the University of Leicester, UK. His PhD thesis was an archaeoastronomical analysis of Greek temple alignments in Sicily. He also has an MPhil in World Archaeology. His research interests include ancient technology, cosmology and colonisation processes. He is currently dividing his time between a few part-time jobs in the university and at the Annals of Botany.

One thought on “Nine Points on a Finger”

  1. Wow! These are beautiful!

    There are smaller (but less exquisitely crafted) tools that are standardly understood as part of modular composite tools in Mesolithic Europe. These microliths are made in a particular way by snapping blades and then re-touching the remaining fragment.

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