Needles & cases

This bone needle, broken into four pieces, is perhaps not as exciting lớn look at as a spear point, an oil lamp, or an incised pebble, but it can tell us as much or more about the lives of the people who used it as any finely worked point or intricately carved pebble can. However, things this small have a tendency to be overlooked in archeological excavation—they are small, often fragmentary, và hard khổng lồ spot if excavation is quick or if the samples excavated are not screened through small enough screens.

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Tools like this are often found in archeological excavations along with the bones và shells of the animals people ate, other broken or lost tools found in the home, or the flakes of stone that were left over from tool making. Photo.This needle was found along the Pacific coast of Katmai và was made of animal bone between 4,000 and 4,300 years ago—most likely from bone that was left over after a meal. It is strong, durable, và doesn"t look significantly different than the needles we use today. Making needles lượt thích this took a tremendous amount of skill & time. Using a tool made of stone, splinters of hard long bones were cut out & trimmed khổng lồ make a rough needle-like shape. They were then meticulously ground and polished so they were the right shape và were very smooth. The delicate eye was made by very carefully drilling into the bone from both sides. The thread they used was probably made of sinew (fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone), gut, or hair.Perhaps the person who used this needle made clothing or tents out of animal skins, or a waterproof bag or clothing out of sea mammal intestines. We can only guess at what they made since the products of their labor have not survived. Objects made from hard bone and stone can survive for thousands of years in archeological sites while clothing & other objects made of organic material often vị not.

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It took care, skill, và precision to lớn make this tool. The scale khổng lồ the right of the needle pieces measures two centimeters tall. Photo.The needle raises other questions about the coastal inhabitants of Katmai--who made this needle? A man? Did a woman shape this needle & make it this exact size and shape khổng lồ use for a certain sewing task? Who used it? A young child just learning lớn sew? A man fixing a seam on his clothes? A mother making a sleeping bag for her infant child? How did it kết thúc up in the archeological site? Was it lost after someone dropped it và broken as a result of trampling? Was it broken and therefore discarded?Whatever the answers to lớn these questions might be, this needle connects us khổng lồ those people who lived on that windswept và stormy coast over 4,000 years ago. They, lượt thích us today, needed to lớn patch clothes, sew seams, and care for their loved ones by providing them with clothing, shelter, and warmth. They are gone, but this small household object that looks nearly identical khổng lồ the needles we use thousands of years later remains.
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