Section 4: Raw Material, Technology, Storage and Discard

Summary | Raw material | Raw material procurement | Hammerstones | Nodule reduction and technology | Refrain said when knapping chert | Selection of flakes for use | Locations where men work with chert tools | Use and terminology | Storage and discard | Ritual uses of stone

4.1 Raw material

The raw material used by the Wola was a local chert which occurs in nodules deposited throughout the limestone of the region. Two kinds of chert, aeray (lit: chert) and aeraytol (lit: chert-dirt) exist but only aeray was used for tool making. Aeraytol is the more common but is friable and not suitable for knapping. Aeray occurs in larger nodules which reach up to 0.5m in length. Aeray varies from almost black to light grey, and has a shiny glass-like lustre. The Wola did not give different names to the different colours; all were called aeray although, when pressed, they could readily distinguish between them, calling the darker kind bombray (lit: black) and the lighter kind hundbiy (lit: any colour from grey to khaki). [The Wola apply this word to several different colours between which we terminologically make distinctions.]

All aeray was knappable though the darker grey bombray is the most fine-grained and, when flaked, edges retained their sharp edges for longest. No interest was taken in obtaining the better quality bombray chert even though its identification was undertaken easily by colour and colour was used as an approximate indicator of quality. People would settle for the first aeray that turned up, even if it was the lighter grey variety.


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Last updated: Wed Oct 8 2003