Monday, January 7, 2008
Good bye Swoose
Swoose— From Ray
It was early one Saturday afternoon and I got a call from a flintknapper from Texas, he had read the tip flute article I had published in Gary Foggleman’s “Indian Artifact Magazine”. My name is “Swoose!” Swoose gave me a dtailedaccount of the article, he understood the anomaly better than I did- and I wrote the article!. Swoose agreed that a premature flute termination may have, in some prehistoric situations, been overcome by turning the point around and fluting the point from the tip.
A few decades ago a Hungarian inverter, Emo Rubik, invented the mind bending puzzle know as Rubik’s Cube. Flintknapping, the lithic arts, are much like Rubik’s Cube in that a systematic line of attack to break down the sequence into sub problems and then face those on a case by case scenario optimally. Swoose , through his own mastery of deduction, mastered the puzzle, the puzzle of paleo flintknapping.
John Alexander, who goes by the nickname "Swoose," Used a unique process that involves a combination of levered pressure against a prepared platform and a slight percussion strike against the flat surface of the biface near the platform. Striking the surface, which is already under pressure, initiates the fracturing process. Bob Patten (2005) refers to "Swoose's" method of fluting as "axial compression." This technique produces long flutes that relate to Barnes and Cumberland points. (Bostrom, Casting Lab).
According to John Whittaker, author of “American Flintknappers”: “Flint knappers can also be considered a subculture, a smaller unit within American culture as a whole”. All of us that fit into this subculture have our own little niche . Swoose found his as a master of his own method of paleo knapping .
Star Trek creator Gene Roddeberry’s landmark space burial about a decade, or so, ago have long since come crashing back to earth with the hope of space immortality . There was a bumper sticker that Bob Patten used to sell “Love is fleeting, Stone is forever” , I think Bob was right, this being the case Swoose will live forever through his magnificent
Parallel flaked and fluted flint art.
Swooses’ life as told by Peter Bostrum’s Lithic Casting Lab”
“-"Swoose" lives in a small west Texas town called McCamey where he's called home for 86 years. He has many other talents other than flintknapping. The local community is proud of his athletic accomplishments. In various Senior Texas and World track and field events he's held 9 age group world records and received over 400 gold medals. In 2000 John Alexander was inducted into the Texas Senior Games Hall of Fame. When asked by Peter Bostrom, of Lithic Casting Lab, how he came up with the idea of fluting in this peculiar way, "Swoose" says he was exposed to the basic concept when he was stationed in New Guinea during World War II. New Guinea was and still is one of the best locations in the world to observe primitive technology. He was assigned to the 912 signal company and was on active duty from 1942-1945. Before the war, "Swoose" was a ham radio operator. He began with his crystal set in 1933. His knowledge of electronics guided his time in the military towards radar, specializing in repair and installation. In New Guinea he says when the local natives needed power to do something, they used levers. His experimenting with pressure using a lever has produced a simple forked limb method of removing a long Cumberland style channel flake.