Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Schiele Museum Aboriginal Studies Program

Steve Watts, Director of Aboriginal Studies Program at Schiele Museum, Gastonia, NC, is shown in photo on left knapping a projectile point from novaculite. Photo on right is Rocky Culbertson, knapper from Waxhaw, NC, with Watts and a couple of points they had just completed. All photos on page by L. Ross.

Left photo is Watts percussion knapping with an antler billet. Culbertson is in right photo also using antler billet.

Left photo is incomplete projectile point by Culbertson, center photo is completed novaculite point by Watts and the right photo shows Culbertson finishing a Buffalo River Chert point.

Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC, is a very interesting place. In addition to the other displays and programs, they have a great Aboriginal Studies Program directed by Steve Watts. They have displays of Indian culture with shelter, tools and other artifacts to depict the life that these primitives lived.

Every year, the first weekend in August, they are host to flintknappers from around the southeast and beyond. Anyone interested in flintknapping can come an learn from the masters.

I had an opportunity to observe and pick up some pointers from Watts and Culbertson last Sunday. I missed the Saturday gathering which was much larger. I regret missing James Parker, master flintknapper and bowyer. I have one of Parker's Bamboo Dragon longbows and took a deer with it and a handmade arrow last season. I also have an obsidian dagger that he made with an elk antler handle that is a thing of beauty.

In addition to the knappers, there is usually someone there who is a supplier of rock suitable for knapping. I was able to secure some for some projects and knapped about a half dozen points today from the new chert, novaculite and other stone that I purchased.

If you haven't been to Schiele Museum, it is a great place to learn about the past. Also, mark your calendar for the first weekend of August next year if you are a knapper.

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