Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Swoose's Paleo Knapping Technique

The Question that set Swoose, JOHN ALEXANDER, on his quest for the unlocking of the paleo pattern flake code was “how did Indians make such beautiful points out of such hard flint?” It was 1932 and Swoose was 12 years old, in a small west Texas town called McCamey. McCamey, Texas has been called many things over the years. Some of the nicer ones are "Child of Black Gold", "Home of the First Rattle Snake Derby", and just recently the town slogan for the 75th anniversary was "75 and Still Alive". Now McCamey has a new title. By resolution of the Texas Legislator. On February 22, 2001 McCamey was declared the "Wind Energy Capital of Texas", population 1805.

It took Swoose 18 years to to gain the skill and knowledge to master the patterned oblique flaking and fluting. The year after Swoose started knapping, on a Fourth of July
Swoose blew much of his left hand off with a large home made fire cracker,. He was 13 years old and missing his lft thumb and middle finger only slowed him down temporarily and by 1950 he had mastered his craft. Swoose said that he discovered the most important secret by mistake, “I was thinking about something else and I accidentally put a lot of pressure on my perform- instead of leaving a space for the flake detachment, I call this distributed back pressure . This holds the flake together and gives it greater traveling capacity” Swoose used a mounted horn, not antler, wedge to pressure flake the unground margins of his performs and pushed and sheared instead of down and in like Crabtree and Ishi.

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