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Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands (Read 713 times)
Plumbata
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Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Aug 8th, 2020 at 11:11am
 
In my quest to collect and personally study sling projectiles from around the world I've managed to put together a nice assortment of "Indigenous" stones, with those of the Solomon Islands exhibiting almost geometric perfection of form; truly remarkable considering the time it took to peck, grind, and polish down each stone as opposed to the comparatively mass-produced cast lead projectiles of Mediterranean antiquity.

On the left are 4 rough-pecked "flattened lemon" or grain shaped stones from Klamath Lake, Oregon. Very similar in form to the flattened grain shaped lead projectiles of the Classical era Greeks. Likely a product of the Modoc Tribe or related groups/ancestors, 2,000-5,000 years old, 49 to 71 grams and probably used for hunting waterfowl etc along the lake.

The large vesicular basalt stone in the rear is from the Big Island of Hawaii, and at a walloping 609 grams is probably a famed "canoe breaker" type projectile used to blast outriggers, rudders and oarsmen right off incoming war canoes. Smaller more refined biconical stones are known from land battle sites but I've yet to acquire one, the last nice ones I saw went for 500-600 a piece!

Front center with old collection label is a stone of the Chamorro people from Guam, 41 grams.

The 10 stones on the right are from the Solomon Islands, first pick from the artifact collection of an Australian millionaire mogul so they represent an extraordinary selection of different materials including coral, with most exhibiting superb refinement of form and construction and a few clearly having been burned (maybe during a village pillaging or other violent act). Some of these could be as recent as the early 20th century, but others possess the "cortex" patina indicative of a solidly pre-contact age. The big "chieftain's stone" is 145 grams, smallest (mostly hidden behind the big one) just 16 grams.

Thanks for looking and if any of you would like measurements or more info just ask!
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Morphy
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #1 - Aug 8th, 2020 at 12:55pm
 
Some of those are practically works of art. I’ve always wanted to make a set but knowing how easily my concrete ammo disappears and knowing my complete lack of self control I would for sure sling them and lose them.
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #2 - Aug 8th, 2020 at 2:00pm
 
I made one once.  I gave it to Mas.  It was made from greenstone and had a flake of actual gold in it.

Got no idea if he still has it. 

It started out as a pecked ax blade but there was a crack in it, so the ax blade broke with about 80% of the pecking done.  When I smoothed out the broken part with more pecking, it was looking very much like a gland.  It didn't take much more to get the shape tight, then it was on to the grinding part.  Total time was about a day to make it.  Four or five hours pecking and about two for the grinding.
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #3 - Aug 8th, 2020 at 3:44pm
 
Well morphy, you could think of it as giving archaeologists, collectors and slingers alike something to ponder over 1,000 years from now! Smiley

Bill, thanks for sharing, I haven't ever tried making any proper sling stones, though have made axe/celts, greenstone is no joke! The stone from Guam for example is made of a very soft sandstone, those could be cranked out easily but the igneous material is a different animal. I'd truly love to see the gold-kissed greenstone projectile you made if any pictures are floating around, and would appreciate it if anyone else with anything remotely relevant, home made or otherwise, was willing to share too.

You all have probably seen the polished mineral specimen spheres that have been around for decades, why don't they make awesome hematite or malachite glandes instead and tap into a whole new niche market?  Grin
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #4 - Aug 9th, 2020 at 1:13am
 
Gorgeous collection!!
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Razor glandes, Aim for the eyes!!!
 
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #5 - Aug 9th, 2020 at 4:09am
 
Perfection  Shocked

how hard and dense are the materials?
what is the fastest modern way to shape stones this size and what is the no power tools/historical approach? any youtube videos?
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #6 - Aug 9th, 2020 at 10:18am
 
Timpa made rough stone biconicals in a video with a big sander with a disc designed for stone. Worked well but also looked like a risky way to make ammo.
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« Last Edit: Aug 9th, 2020 at 12:42pm by Kick »  
 
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #7 - Aug 9th, 2020 at 12:00pm
 
You could always do it pecking and grinding, the modern made stone glandes look like they were made with power tools. 

A lot of the modern stuff is too perfect, if that makes any sense.  Slight imperfections would be left on the older stuff because removing them would take too much time.
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #8 - Aug 9th, 2020 at 1:44pm
 
well if you look at tho solomon islands stones - they are really smooth.
A lot of the artifact stones i guam are very similiar.

Jut because they did not have power tools does not mean they did not have a way to make these things with minimal effort.

Given how many were used during the two years spain was attacking guam in th initial invasion - I think it's fair to say they were not taking a couple of days to make a single stone.

These guys were skilled artisans - no we do not know how they were made. We don't know how stone henge was made or the pyramids.

But you need to understand that with the technology they ahd these guys were frigging geniuses !

'primitive' does not mean stupid.
 
And they did have 'power tools'.
The power source was often muscle power - or water power.
I think water wheels have been used in the majority of ancient soceities. Or wind power.
As long as you can make a thing go round fast, you can grind fairly swiftly and accurately.

Some sort of mechanised method makes  a lot more sense than every single stone -  stones that would be lost at sea after a single throw - being laboriously carved by hand.
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #9 - Aug 9th, 2020 at 2:14pm
 
I tried once to grind marble with an angle grinder and a flap disk. the grinding was too slow with too much dust, I stopped because I like my lungs clean.

What is the right tool for roughly shaping before grinding?
hammering such a small piece is difficult

are the materials softer than marble thus easy to shape on rough rocks?

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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #10 - Aug 9th, 2020 at 2:20pm
 
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #11 - Aug 16th, 2020 at 10:57am
 
Look at the pictures of the "Duck Bowl".  It looks perfect.  It was made by a process that we don't know how to replicate, today. 

If you look at it under magnification, you will see slight imperfections where a stone tool skipped or didn't run quite in the same track.  The edges are not quite straight.  Those marks cannot be seen with the naked eye, they were corrected to the best of the makers ability. 

With modern tools, those slight imperfections would not have happened.  So, too perfect.  One of the ways you can authenicate an artifact over a modern reproduction is there are none of those slight flaws.  The creator would be depending on his naked eye, and wouldn't even be able see or feel the slight imperfections.  Modern workers can get a pair of glasses that provide both light and magnification, that wasn't an option for the ancients.   


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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #12 - Aug 16th, 2020 at 3:24pm
 
Bill Skinner wrote on Aug 16th, 2020 at 10:57am:
Look at the pictures of the "Duck Bowl".  It looks perfect.  It was made by a process that we don't know how to replicate, today. 

If you look at it under magnification, you will see slight imperfections where a stone tool skipped or didn't run quite in the same track.  The edges are not quite straight.  Those marks cannot be seen with the naked eye, they were corrected to the best of the makers ability. 

With modern tools, those slight imperfections would not have happened.  So, too perfect.  One of the ways you can authenicate an artifact over a modern reproduction is there are none of those slight flaws.  The creator would be depending on his naked eye, and wouldn't even be able see or feel the slight imperfections.  Modern workers can get a pair of glasses that provide both light and magnification, that wasn't an option for the ancients.   




Beautiful piece and utterly amazing that anyone could make that out of a single large piece of stone.
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“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
 
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #13 - Aug 16th, 2020 at 4:11pm
 
Morphy wrote on Aug 16th, 2020 at 3:24pm:
Bill Skinner wrote on Aug 16th, 2020 at 10:57am:
Look at the pictures of the "Duck Bowl".  It looks perfect.  It was made by a process that we don't know how to replicate, today. 

If you look at it under magnification, you will see slight imperfections where a stone tool skipped or didn't run quite in the same track.  The edges are not quite straight.  Those marks cannot be seen with the naked eye, they were corrected to the best of the makers ability. 

With modern tools, those slight imperfections would not have happened.  So, too perfect.  One of the ways you can authenicate an artifact over a modern reproduction is there are none of those slight flaws.  The creator would be depending on his naked eye, and wouldn't even be able see or feel the slight imperfections.  Modern workers can get a pair of glasses that provide both light and magnification, that wasn't an option for the ancients.   




Beautiful piece and utterly amazing that anyone could make that out of a single large piece of stone.


Is this linked? or am I inept? I wanna see! *whine*
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Re: Shaped Sling Stones of Oregon, Hawaii, Guam, and the Solomon Islands
Reply #14 - Aug 16th, 2020 at 8:57pm
 
IronGoober wrote on Aug 16th, 2020 at 4:11pm:
Morphy wrote on Aug 16th, 2020 at 3:24pm:
Bill Skinner wrote on Aug 16th, 2020 at 10:57am:
Look at the pictures of the "Duck Bowl".  It looks perfect.  It was made by a process that we don't know how to replicate, today. 

If you look at it under magnification, you will see slight imperfections where a stone tool skipped or didn't run quite in the same track.  The edges are not quite straight.  Those marks cannot be seen with the naked eye, they were corrected to the best of the makers ability. 

With modern tools, those slight imperfections would not have happened.  So, too perfect.  One of the ways you can authenicate an artifact over a modern reproduction is there are none of those slight flaws.  The creator would be depending on his naked eye, and wouldn't even be able see or feel the slight imperfections.  Modern workers can get a pair of glasses that provide both light and magnification, that wasn't an option for the ancients.   




Beautiful piece and utterly amazing that anyone could make that out of a single large piece of stone.


Is this linked? or am I inept? I wanna see! *whine*


...

I assume this is what Bill is talking about. Made from one big stone.
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“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
 
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