swataramike
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February 5th, 2018, 3:09 pm #21

cool..i will see you there...
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medicine maker
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February 5th, 2018, 5:31 pm #22

Here are some more flakes I’ve taken off using the finger punch technique. I find it really helps in small places like arrowheads much more over trying to directly hit or pressure flake the flakes. I cant make flakes that go to centerline or more with just pressure flaking. Direct runs high risk of breakage. Now I still broke my tip but you feel the instant you’ve put too much force.
644E1B22-2D27-40BB-81A4-3E122616925C.jpeg
7580EDA4-40BB-4C3D-93D8-8124EEFA5566.jpeg
7852881E-10FF-4D13-8AAB-42BFB18D9FE8.jpeg
3DFDEA27-8049-424C-943C-AB5201311653.jpeg
26AC84B3-F7F9-49FF-9B49-C08B58792E6B.jpeg
E42B6345-8243-4897-837C-79C75BDEF880.jpeg
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uniface
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April 29th, 2018, 3:29 am #23

I have studied Paleo knapping technology for 25 years and have known, followed and corresponded with Benjamin from the beginning. 

In my opinion you people are passing off personal dislike (much of it out of frustration, with incomprehension playing no small role in it) as objective appraisal of his work.

Reading what he has written and reading what you write about him leaves me grasping for any factual correspondence between the two.
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NewbowPA
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April 29th, 2018, 5:07 am #24

What has been stated here about Ben is accurate as far as I can recall.  No one starts out with a "personal dislike".  I doubt that anyone on this forum actually dislikes Ben, but a number did become frustrated with his attitude and presentation.  I was in friendly communication with him one more than one occasion urging him to a less confrontational and MUCH more succinct writing style but he seemed intent (he told me as much, actually) on being a martyr.  His posts on this forum never showed any mastery of the techniques he propounded (simple indirect percussion) as revealing a lost art and which he represented as THE way to knap.  Even if he had been able to make nice points to put some credibility behind his statements, his habit of using 25 words where one would have sufficed along with equally vacuous videos would have been off-putting.  Yes, people could have simply ignored his posts if they didn't like them but that doesn't seem to be human nature and Ben appeared to enjoy causing an uproar.  I didn't dislike Ben then nor do I now and I applaud that he seems to have finally started turning out credible points but in his YouTube videos he continues to push the idea that he is the conveyer of ancient knowledge and has been ostracized for attempting to enlighten the modern knapping world.  That attitude will win him very few friends in the knapping community.  I repeat, from my previous post in this thread, for anyone interested:  You can watch all of Ben's videos if you go to his YouTube page:  KnapYucatan  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-w49L ... 4ms6LBJdQQ
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uniface
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April 30th, 2018, 6:20 pm #25

More selective memory there. 

Ben never presented himself as an accomplished flintknapper, or as a fluted point replicator. Those two presumptions are straw men. He focused exclusively on the recovery of the original system of flintknapping -- the technique. And he proved his point by producing overshot flakes at will using an antler tine. Which no one, until he revealed the procedure, was able to do. 

No one is obliged to tailor his writing style to please people too lazy to slow down and follow simple instructions. He presented you with every fact you needed. The burden of comprehension was on you. Rather than put the effort required into that, you derived emotional satisfaction from harassing and telling lies about him. Underlying all of this is the assumption that the copper bopper community with their turkey roasters are qualified to sit in judgement of what it clearly STILL does not comprehend. 
Among other things, you can see that they are trying to debate the "artistic rendition" of what Cushing had elucidated.  But, what they do not mention is that, in 2010, some of the very same people here, such as Caveman 2323, insisted that there was NO EVIDENCE of indirect percussion in bifacial reduction, and that I had to "prove it".  

So, while they are debating the artistic rendition, they never bother to say, "Oops, we were wrong.  It appears that there might just be some evidence, after all"  I mean, in this case, even the artistic rendition is about INDIRECT PERCUSSION - which constitutes evidence.  

While they say all sorts of false things about me, they do not bother to mention that they were actually wrong over and over again.  I never changed my position since 2010.  I only expanded it, while introducing more and more evidence.  I have yet to hear any of these people say, "We were wrong", except for the late Philip Churchill.
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NewbowPA
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April 30th, 2018, 7:03 pm #26

I communicated directly with Ben and was never, as uniface suggests, one of his harassers.  Those who may be following this thread and may not have seen Ben's original posts, since removed one way or another, can go to his YouTube channel and draw their own conclusions about his ability to communicate.   I was taught about indirect percussion over 25 years ago by an abo knapper who happened to be also a professional lithic specialist.  Ben may well have independently re-discovered indirect but the technique, while perhaps ignored by many modern knappers, was never lost.
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Lee Olsen
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May 2nd, 2018, 3:51 am #27

 > Ben may well have independently re-discovered indirect but the technique, while perhaps ignored by many modern knappers, was never lost.
-----------------------------------------------------
Page 19 "In some localities large blades were secured by the pressure process; for this work a point of bone or stone was used as a punch, this was struck with a hammer."

Primitive Methods of Working Stone
Based on Experiments of Halvor L. Skavlem.
by Alonzo W. Pond
Logan Museum Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 1, 1930
Beloit College, Beloit, Wis.


Published on Nov 19, 2016
"Make Native American flintknapping great again!!! There are only 300 Lacandons left, in the world. I have only seen two instances of this technology caught on tape. One instance occurred around 1950. And, this second instance is more recent..."
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uniface
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May 2nd, 2018, 7:52 pm #28

The truth is that modern knappers - including Bob Patten - had been dismissing the primary evidence of antler drift cylinder punches, in prehistoric American knapping, since the 1970's (Flintknappers Exchange, 1979).  

When I broached the subject of antler drift flaking cylinders in the fall of 2010, on Paleoplanet, I was told by Patten, and others, that "there is no evidence", and the idea is a "pipedream", etc.

With regard to the false allegation that there is "no evidence", I compiled dozens of quotes, and showed artifacts of punch artifacts, from records that span well over a half a century.  

At anytime did people say, "We were wrong"?  No.  Did, they ever publicly admit their error.  Rather, once the evidence became known, the chorus switched from "There is no evidence" to "You have to prove it".  Wow!  Now, they suddenly are demanding something that they themselves failed to prove.  How fair!

But, that is all beside the point.  Why was my work banned from Paleoplanet, in the fall of 2012?  Why?  It is very simple.  I showed a type of flaking that people had not seen before, and I asked whether or not it looks "Clovis".  Clearly, no rules were broken in posting a photo, and asking a question.  

I was immediately told that I have to explain exactly how the flaking was made - something nowhere stated in the rules!  Then, contrary to rules, "honest" Steve Nissly had the thread frozen twice.  And, then I was "banned" by a moderator who immediately resigned.  

Okay, so which rule did I break?  Six years have elapsed (2012-2018), and yet not one "honest knapper" has ever been able to explain which rule was broken.  Again, I ask, which rule did I break?  

Oh, I see.  Certain special people are "above the rules"...  Yes, that is how it goes in the flintknapping community.  Meanwhile, no one is allowed to see the EVIDENCE that I present, which fully proves that I was right, way back in 2010.

In this life, respect must be earned.  And, people who STEAL the opportunity for others to learn do not deserve an ounce of respect.
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Hummingbird Point
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May 2nd, 2018, 10:23 pm #29

Lee Olsen wrote:  > Ben may well have independently re-discovered indirect but the technique, while perhaps ignored by many modern knappers, was never lost.
-----------------------------------------------------
Page 19 "In some localities large blades were secured by the pressure process; for this work a point of bone or stone was used as a punch, this was struck with a hammer."

Primitive Methods of Working Stone
Based on Experiments of Halvor L. Skavlem.
by Alonzo W. Pond
Logan Museum Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 1, 1930
Beloit College, Beloit, Wis.


Since the subject came up, I have a copy of Pond's "Primitive Methods of Working Stone".  I don't recommend it.  I found the information there very rudimentary.  Skavlem never really figured out true bifacial thinning, he was really more shaping stone.  (In no way intended as a criticism, he was self taught and trying to figure it as he went.)

Somewhat better is Holmes' "Handbook of Aboriginal American Antiquities: The Lithic Industries".  It contains 46 pages on "Fracture Processes" including a fair amount on indirect percussion.  The information is all second or third hand, at times hard to understand and makes more sense and is easier to sort out if you already have some knapping experience.  I would also recommend first going to the end of the book to read "Cushing's  Account of shaping Processes" and make sure you understand the difference between the quarry part of the process (raw rock to late stage preform) and the finishing part of the process (preform to finished tool).  Both texts are available in reprint from:  http://www.gustavslibrary.com/

Also worth a look is :https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... =1up;seq=7 
Like Holmes, largely a compilation of others observations, but the author also had enough knapping knowledge to do some rudimentary testing of the techniques.  Thanks to Ben for finding that source, he is a superb researcher!
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Lee Olsen
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May 2nd, 2018, 11:46 pm #30

@ Hummingbird Point

Is this statement right or wrong?
Page 19 "In some localities large blades were secured by the pressure process; for this work a point of bone or stone was used as a punch, this was struck with a hammer."
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Hummingbird Point
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May 3rd, 2018, 1:38 am #31

Lee Olsen wrote: @ Hummingbird Point

Is this statement right or wrong?
Page 19 "In some localities large blades were secured by the pressure process; for this work a point of bone or stone was used as a punch, this was struck with a hammer."
I don't know, I never got into the blade technology side of either research or replication.  That statement makes me think of this, which is super cool:

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Lee Olsen
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May 3rd, 2018, 12:46 pm #32

@ Hummingbird Point
NewbowPA in post #26 said:  "while perhaps ignored by many modern knappers, was never lost." All I was doing is seeing how far back this idea goes in the modern record. I was not suggesting Skavlem's (Pond's) book was a good tutorial for flintknapping, which you are right, it isn't, but the research side seems to support NewbowPA's statement, indirect goes back at least to the 1930s for "modern flintknappers".

I still haven't gotten a chance to look up all the references given in 1979 for indirect by Errett Callahan, which many people do consider to be a good tutorial on flintknapping BTW.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Th ... RTnQEACAAJ
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Hummingbird Point
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May 3rd, 2018, 10:24 pm #33

Lee,

Holmes (1919) mentions several indirect percussion methods, including the one below, which looks to be the same technique in the video you posted above.(Fig. 158, not 157)  The reference is from a publication Redding made in 1879.  Holmes also cites a reference by Catlin, "Last rambles amongst the Indians" but no date is given.  So, I guess it goes back at least that far?

I read Callahan's book.  He makes very little mention of indirect percussion.  I was hoping he was going to explain it in in some depth, but there are just veiled references to it it here and there.  His book is mostly about making preforms with antler billets. (my assessment).  Still worth reading as is Holmes, Ponds, et. al., just no great revelations or "Holy Grail" techniques in any of them.

   

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Lee Olsen
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May 4th, 2018, 7:38 pm #34

@ Hummingbird Point

Thank you for the photo, saved me a trip to the library :-)
You wrote: " So, I guess it goes back at least that far?"
I'm convinced. So from a historical perspective then, the "indirect" method has been around in the literature for a very long time...as pointed out by Newbow and Uniface above. That takes care of the history review, how about the next obvious question; just how efficient is indirect?

I actually haven't seen Callahan's book, what I have is a condensed paper copy of it published in a journal called 'Archaeology of Eastern North America' (1979). Callahan said on page 106 that he used the same method as used in the Grand-Pressigny Museum video you linked to and practiced with it "assidously for several years".

To review Callahan's (1979) observations on early stage Clovis biface preforms and how they were made compared to his own experimental reproductions. Most of this comes from page 106 and his views on efficiency; direct vs indirect. His paper concerns early stage Clovis reduction at mainly two Clovis sites "Flint Run" and the "Williamson Site Complex".
1) He rejects punch work in early stages because of "time and trouble it takes to prepare and execute each blow".
2) He admits initially "Accuracy of aim" is superior with a punch, but eventually that advantage is overcome with years of "billet percussion practice".
3) He sees nothing at the two archaeological sites above that he can't duplicate with direct percussion.
4) He can't run flakes as far (after years of practice using both methods) using indirect as he does with direct percussion.
5) He doesn't reject punch work in all cases, but he personally only uses it on rare occasions like when starting with too narrow of a preform where a platform is hard to set up on a square edge, for example. IOW, punches are good for "here and there" use, but not for the majority of operations of early stage Clovis preforms.
He admits these are the views of only one knapper...himself. I'm sure others mileage will vary from punch use.
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Hummingbird Point
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May 5th, 2018, 3:14 pm #35

Lee,

You ask big questions that are hard to do justice to in a format like this.  Allow me to paint with a broad brush and speak only to my own experience and opinions:

I think indirect percussion belongs right where Cushing puts it in his description of the knapping process: It is a bridge between the direct percussion preform and the pressure flaked finished piece.  It is a technique mostly for finishing and resharpening.  Callahan's observations are largely correct.  If a beginning knapper starts out by learning direct percussion but then stops each piece once things start to go awry, then switches to indirect, he will find, over time, he is is getting further and further with direct and may eventually eliminate a need for indirect altogether.

On the surface, indirect looks like a great idea.  You have much of the power of direct percussion married to much of the accuracy of pressure.  Then the other shoe drops, and you realize that for that to really happen, you need 3 hands (ideally all controlled by the same brain)!  So one approach is to use the non-dominant hand to both hold the punch and the preform.  I have found that slow, tedious, somewhat dangerous and only supplying power a little beyond what I can get with my pressure flaker.  Going to a longer punch helps in providing much more power (leverage) along with more versatility in that you can have a wider range of angles and motions available.  But now you have to solve the third hand problem by contriving some kind of clamp system to hold the preform using another body part and/or some kind of mechanical device.  Every time you want to take another flake, or if the flake doesn't run, you have to take the stone out of the clamp, adjust, and hit again.  Excruciatingly slow and tedious!  You get to the point where you just want to yank it out of the clamp and start beating on it again!

The best compromise I have found is the shaft punch method, as demonstrated by Marty Reuter. The "third hand" is the combination of the leg, shaft and ground such that the hands are left free to manipulate the preform and strike the punch.  It is very simple, fast and versatile.  It is still not a panacea, though, and does not replace soft hammer direct percussion.  It is still mostly a finishing and resharpening tool.

Personally, I use at least some indirect on most pieces I make.  I mostly knap quartzite, which does not pressure flake well, so use a shaft punch for all my finish work.  I do little to no pressure flaking.  In experimenting with using quartzite Savannah River points as saws to cut hardwood shafts, I found that after 3 pressure flaking resharpenings the edge was getting too thick due to flakes not going in far enough and it was then time to resharpen with my punch.  

I cannot consistently flute by direct percussion and must use a punch.  This also allows for multiple fluting on small points, which is what is commonly seen on Clovis points in my area.  I don't have anything near Callahan's experience or natural talent, and doubt I ever will!  

That barely scratches the surface and is still longer than most people want to read.

Keith 
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VirginiaKnapper
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May 6th, 2018, 2:17 am #36

Would you state that indirect percussion is symbiotic to quartzite points or other points of tougher material?
"It's about what you learn, not what you make" - Erret Callahan
"Nothing like busting out a Savannah River out of some gnarly shit." - Robert Godshall, 1st annual ThunderRidge knap in.
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NewbowPA
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May 6th, 2018, 4:24 am #37

VirginiaKnapper wrote: Would you state that indirect percussion is symbiotic to quartzite points or other points of tougher material?
I use indirect on obsidian much like hummingbird point describes, above.  Most pieces will get indirect at some point between major reduction and finishing.  I started using indirect because my direct percussion was pretty iffy.  My accuracy has improved immensely but I still resort to indirect on nearly every point.  It's entirely predictable and somewhere in the production of nearly every point, for myself, the precision of indirect provides the difference between a possible new problem and the needed flake.
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VirginiaKnapper
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May 6th, 2018, 2:41 pm #38

I think that I really need to utilize Indirect on my percussion points, that is where my direct accuracy begins to fade.

Frank
"It's about what you learn, not what you make" - Erret Callahan
"Nothing like busting out a Savannah River out of some gnarly shit." - Robert Godshall, 1st annual ThunderRidge knap in.
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Forager
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May 6th, 2018, 3:03 pm #39

The prehistoric use of indirect served a variety of functions but were apparently required in the manufacture of Mayan eccentrics.  In The Maya Eccentric, Gene Titmus and James Woods (Mesoamerican Lithic Technology, 2003) provide an analysis and replicative work demonstrating how that only a punch could access the inner contours of these large intricate forms typically made from chert bifacial preforms.  

This image from their paper shows flake initiation scars too large to have resulted from pressure, and inaccessible by direct percussion (not to mention the risk of spectacular simultaneous end shocks):
Mayan Eccentric.JPG For the practical reasons already discussed in the preceding comments, this astonishing genre of stonework provides a sublime example of the precision and control possible with indirect.  Not merely a treat to behold, this image may provide something of an enticement for more creative ways to employ the punch.
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Lee Olsen
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May 6th, 2018, 4:16 pm #40

Kieth,

You wrote: "You ask big questions that are hard to do justice to in a format like this."

I just didn't make clear enough what I was asking. I thought my "4) He can't run flakes as far (after years of practice using both methods) using indirect as he does with direct percussion." would draw some immediate fire, especially after the punching method used in the Grand Pressigny video seemed to imply otherwise.

I'm not disagreeing with any of your observations, but there is a big difference between how hunter/gather kids learned flintknapping in ancient times and how the majority of us "moderns" learn it today, be it Cushing, Bordes, Crabtree, Marty, Callahan, or any beginner for that matter, including the Native American (Lacandon) in the other video who seems to be living in a house. I doubt if he is a hunter/gather, nor was his ancestors in the recent past.  So what I failed to ask properly is how far back does anyone actually have hard evidence for indirect being used in H/G societies (Clovis?), not sedentary societies like us or Mayans (as Forger just demonstrated)?

Sure, today we have lots of shortcuts to use in knapping because it's practical because we have other time-consuming activities to worry about... most have day jobs, PTA meetings to go to, football, video games to play etc. etc. Kids go to school today to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic...but not flintknapping. Hence the use of copper boppers, wood pressure pads with notches, rock saws, punches,  plastic buckets to carry all our gear, and who knows what else?

I'm probably the worst offender for training-wheel use. I have a gas powered diamond-bladed chain saw to speed up the rock cutting process, why waste time learning how to build a fire (rubbing two sticks together) under a rock to break it? Time is money in my "modern" society.

OK, back to reality. In Lithic Technology, Vol. 28-1 is a photo from "ca. 1900" showing an Australian Aboriginal knapper making blades. He is standing while knapping and *not* using a punch. Nor do any of the early anthros who went down under to observe hunter/gathers still practicing H/G mention their using punches. This is only in the literature I have, so it is not the same as looking in a research library. I could easily have missed such a claim or direct observation. Meanwhile, I'll re-read Binford to made sure I didn't miss anything.
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... _Formation
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