Clovis Techology...Rick?

mrpeat40
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7:03 AM - Apr 05, 2004 #1

I was just going thru Rick's knapping tutorial again, in the Paleo links, looking at his examples of Clovis over shot flakes. A few questions came to mind:

1. "Over shot flakes were used to thin a piece with few flakes"...from your experience, is this an effective way of thinning? ...if you have control of shooting flakes?

2. The flakes themselves...do you know if they were modified and used as scrapers...the formed dipped edge?

3. Shooting 'outrepasse' (over shot) flakes...is this a matter of having the right lens-shaped surface, properly ground platform, and then using excessive billet force?

4. Would Clovis peoples use over shot flakes on both side, or only one?

5. If I remember...they would create large 'platters'. From these platters they would shoot over pass flakes...these flakes, from these platter, would then be knapped into the tradtional clovis point?

Can I ask what opinion on these questions are Rick, or anyone who has some insight into this? -NE Mark
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sandhillcowboy1
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4:02 PM - Apr 05, 2004 #2

Mark,

Don't know if we have room for complete answers to all those Great questions by the way. I'm no expert but manage to control them once in a while. I was recently giving some knapping lessons and I split a fairly large nodule of obsidian and then proceeded to work the hump side down parallel to the flat split side using and predicting overshots along the way. Lost very little in width which is the great part of overshots. Then formed continuous platforms and used edge to edge percussion flakes on both faces to pretty well finish it. Came out quite long and thin, without losing much width from the original half nodule I started with. Unfortunately I gave away and forgot to take finished pic!

First of all I think there are different degrees of overshot. The classic "coast to coast plus" that dives in the ocean at the end and can remove an unwanted square edge or excessive mass.......and sometimes too much mass

The "coast to coast" that ends feathering out nicely at the shoreline. Bob Patten told me these are the perfect percussion flake and the hardest to produce. He calls them edge to edge.

Then the "almost to the coast" that doesn't quite make the shoreline, sometimes purposely as the flake may be reaching a concavity, or has reached the end point necessary to remove a specific amount of mass. A percussion flake from the opposing edge is many times done to meet this one and feather into it. Sometimes on originals they look like coast to coast flakes until you look closely.

These (overshots), are the most efficient ways of thinning I know, and many of the by product flakes were used as tools. In my experience they don't make as good a scraper as one made specifically for the purpose from a core with a rounded bottom, but I'm sure they were sometimes used for that.

Overshots were used on both faces by Clovis people

You are correct about the platters. I actually got to hold and examine an original, it was huge, and they were taking very flat and large flakes from it. These were sometimes then purposely broken to produce a couple of points as suggested in the Anzick site and written about by Wilke (one of the best unknown archaeologist knappers around, originally from NE even).

The technique of producing them is due to a variety of factors. The holding technique is probably one of the most over-looked and I'm sure there were different ways of achieving the same result. I like to hold just the opposing edge, use a well ground platform, more inward force than on a normal blow. Only way I know how to describe it. "Excessive" force is not the answer. One thing I've learned from Bob is to slow down my billet speed, helps control, and also minimizes hinging and diving. I do use my largest moose billet for initial biface thinning. But overshots can be done on small pieces using small billets also.
Sounds like a good BCIV project.

Here's a couple of pics showing a coast to coast flake. A friend was having trouble getting his points thinned down. This was a salvage of one of his finished points, it was as thick as wide and he asked me if I could thin it, told him i thought it would probably break but would give it a go. The flake I show was the last major one removed to get the piece under control. I lost very little on the width using overshots to thin it which is why I say they are the most efficient way of thinning. I thinned both ends with an overshot first and then went to the middle to remove the final large mass. Always do your ends first and then the center especially when removing a large amount of mass.

One last observation: In my opinion, antler seems to work better than copper for this particular technology.





A Fenn Clovis replica utilizing some overshots



I am in the process of updating my photo tutorial on knapping and will have some more detailed info on this subject upcoming

Rick
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PaleoAleo
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4:27 PM - Apr 05, 2004 #3

Rick and Mark, Fantastic question(s) and answer(s). This is terriffic information!

I have been having greater success in employing overshot flaking. I have difficulty controlling it however. Reading Bob's book (Old Tools/New Eyes) helped me a bit. As he suggests, I try "rocking" the preform slightly upward to meet the blow of the batton to get the flake to sort of arc over to the other side. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Having returned from a knapp-in/archery event last evening, I was reading Bob's book again on this very subject. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you started this discussion. Almost as if you'd read my mind!

I'd love to see and hear more from you guys on this subject.
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mrpeat40
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2:21 AM - Apr 06, 2004 #4

Rick...some good info...have to mull it around a bit. Great pic example!
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PaleoAleo
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1:39 PM - Apr 06, 2004 #5

Yea, I like the photo examples. Was thinking last evening that I need to take photos while knapping - if only for my own education!

Thanks again Rick.
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mrpeat40
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8:33 AM - Apr 07, 2004 #6

Rick...I am not sure how to respond to the info given. I like the terminology you used, helped to get a better mental perspective of the types of overshot flakes. Of course, I am more skilled at "coast to coast plus"...blowing off the opposite edge...>eek<. Again, excellent pics of the Fenn Clovis replica.
Good stuff for a chapter in your book....>g<.

You mention the overlooked technic of holding the piece...care to elaborate? I read Pattons book where he talked of rocking the preform, but I developed a bad habit that ruined many a points, ...probably from lack of understanding the whole method. Then I went back to laying it flat against my leg...yes, I am a leg knapper. Formed that habit from Waldorfs book/video. You are hand knapping?

Heavy, slow moving antler billet...antler produces flatter flakes. Slow(er) moving to increase control. And, heavier billet to compensate for lack of speed but maintain force. ...?
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sandhillcowboy1
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2:16 PM - Apr 07, 2004 #7

Mark,

These are just my way of grouping these types of flakes, mainly because the technique used to produce all three are basically the same with just a little variance in angles. As originally coined the overshot actually took a bite from the other side. Give me 20 more yrs. of knapping and I may be ready to write something

As I said there are a variety of ways I'm sure to do this. I actually do large overshots on my leg, when starting on nodules or large bifaces. I hold the preform against the side of my leg, and use a kind of "peeling" blow. Smaller bifaces I will hand hold but again just gripping the very edge. Although I hand hold I am anchoring my hand against my leg as a support, and doing it on my right leg. Learned this technique from Patten last year at BCIII. My back went out for the knap-in and I was having trouble even standing. Bob stayed Sun. nite after everyone left and coached me on this techniqe, said it helps eliminate the back twisting from working on your left leg. It was kind of like learning to walk again, but have since gotten comfortable with it. AboPaleo is also using the same technique now with good results. Tony Baker and Bob have both done a lot of experimentation with the slow vs. fast moving, less vs. more mass billet, and I can't explain it all. Smaller billet you still have to use more speed than a larger one. But I've seen Bob flute a folsom (direct percussion) with a large billet, small folsom, and hardly use any swing, just amazing. My preference is to use as large a billet as you can, but you will reach a point where the speed becomes more necessary than the extra mass, especially for small pieces. So I generally move down in size (billet) as the piece I'm working on becomes smaller. Don't know if any of that makes sense, but that's the way I approach it.

Rick
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PaleoAleo
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2:22 PM - Apr 07, 2004 #8

Rick,

If possible, I would like to see your holding technique. I'm a freehand percussion knapper. I've had some success with Patten's "rocking the preform" (up to meet the blow) technique. Like Mark, I've also had some bad experiences with rocking the preform.

In your initial post, you talk about holding the far edge of the preform. If you are working freehand, this seems like it would equate to poor support. If working on your leg, I can understand better. Thus, I'll second Mark's request for info on this score!

I spent the evening working on a good sized, chert, clovis, biface. I did well with some coast to coast flaking from continuous beveled platforms (the piece was fairly irregular, so the initial big flakes were taken opportunisitically). One flake in particular diving at the end to remove part of a square edge.

Would love to learn more from you guys.

Tom
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PaleoAleo
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2:25 PM - Apr 07, 2004 #9

Oooops. Our messages apparently crossed paths.
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mrpeat40
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1:43 AM - Apr 08, 2004 #10

...time to dust off Patton's book and start re-reading...
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eskimoboy
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2:24 PM - Oct 20, 2005 #11

Rick, Does the platform have to be quite a bit below the centerline for those overshot flakes?
eskimoboy
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Entropissed
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4:47 PM - Oct 20, 2005 #12

Eskimo,
a lowered platform is pretty essential for longer flakes in all arenas. But it doesnt need to be really really low, just a ways below centerline. As for outrepasse, (Which I NEVER ever ever use because I always chomp out my opposite edge) the best way to visualize the process is to think of your strikes as a constant 120 degree cone radiating down from the tip of your billet, so the angle at which you hold the platform will redirect that cone deeper or more shallow across the face of your piece.
Interestingly, though clovis points are (relatively speaking) tough to produce, the technology is obnoxiously overrated. Clovis points, for all their "glamour" in certain circles, are just pointy bits strapped crudely to sticks. Notched points are in al aspects much more advanced.
Rob in VT
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sandhillcowboy1
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6:34 AM - Oct 26, 2005 #13

Centerline can be a somewhat relative term during initial biface reduction, but it is possible to take overshots from centerline or even slightly below. Overshots or I prefer the term "perfect flake" as coined by Bob Patten for the arcing flake that travels from one edge to the other, efficiently removing a large amount of mass in initial biface reduction, without removing any width. When perfected you can remove a square edge on the other side of the same face without removing any width. Why did Clovis people use this technology....because it is the most efficient means of reducing a biface. I have some casts of some small clovis points from more Eastern U.S. which may not have had the "Clovis" overshot technology used on them or they may have been reduced from re-working to the point that the percussion flaking is not evident. I have one of the Fenn Clovis cache casts that is extremely flat and has the diagonal percussion finish flaking on it. Have yet to see anyone reproduce that one Some of the very flat, thin bifaces in the Fenn Cache may actually have been used as knives judging by some of the pressure edge dressing on them. I also have a Clovis cast from the Denver Museum that is extremely thin and still has some percussion flakes remaining on it.

As far as the technology being over-rated I only know a couple of people who can consistently produce them (controlled ones) and they are all abo knappers. If anyone can produce them consistently with copper I would like to visit with them, as there isn't much discussion on this in the knapping world. Not trying to start a tool war or say abo is better than copper, but just relating some observations from others as well as my own experimentation.

I have Clovis points in my collection from some copper knappers as well as Bruce Bradley and Bob Patten. I got to watch the last two knappers make them. Most of what I know about overshots I learned from Bob, but have modified the technique slightly to suit my knapping style.

I will try to post some pics here showing a biface I worked on at the 1st annual Artifact Show sponsored by the Nebraska Archaeogical Society where I was demoing. The pictures aren't the greatest I will try to take some better later. The biface shows two overshot flakes one on one face and the other on the opposite face. Both were aimed towards the same edge, where they met, removed a square edge, left a very sharp edge without removing any width. The biface is approx 3 1/2 inches wide. I think you will find some knappers who may disagree with your analysis that notched points are in all aspects much more advanced

Don Crabtree claimed the Eden point was technologically as difficult to make as the Folsom.

Rick
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sandhillcowboy1
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6:37 AM - Oct 26, 2005 #14



Face one showing overshot flake that traveled from right to left
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sandhillcowboy1
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6:40 AM - Oct 26, 2005 #15



The opposite face showing an overshot flake which travelled from left to right (to the same edge that the flake in the previous pic went to)
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sandhillcowboy1
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6:42 AM - Oct 26, 2005 #16



This is the sharp edge where both overshots terminated, leaving a razor sharp edge with zero width removed
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sandhillcowboy1
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6:46 AM - Oct 26, 2005 #17



This is the square edge before the overshot flake removal where the overshots terminated thereby eliminating it and leaving the sharp edge
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sandhillcowboy1
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6:52 AM - Oct 26, 2005 #18



The resultant overshot or more correctly, perfect flake. The square edge is on the wide side.
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10:57 PM - Feb 17, 2006 #19

Hey everyone:

I just found the forum for the first time and it really looks interesting. I thought I would use this interesting discussion as a way to comment and introduce myself. I am an archaeologist (currently completing my PhD). My specialty is Early Paleoindians especially Clovis in Northwestern North America. I live in Alberta, Canada. I am also an avid knapper. I had a couple of comments.

1) Overshot flaking, while somewhat diagnostic of Clovis technology; is not used all that much. It is by no means found on the majority of Clovis points. It is much more common on "special" examples like those found in caches suggesting maybe it was used sparingly for special purposes. As you all likely know it is not needed on most blanks and only becomes very useful on large blanks.

2) As for Clovis technology begin overrated I could no disagree more. Aside from Folsom points they are the most difficult lithic tools to reproduce in North America. It is much more difficult to become good a making fluted and overshot flakes than it is to learn notching.

3) The overshot flakes were not used as scrapers however they were sometimes retouched and used as knives etc.
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eskimoboy
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5:46 AM - Feb 18, 2006 #20

Clovis8, Welcome from me and I hope you post alot more.
I have a question that maybe you can answer. Were Scottsbluff and Eden points made by the same people, I mean are they the same age? If so, what do you see as the reason for the two different forms- different game?
Thanks ahead of time,

scott
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