Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Still More Rocking, Still Less Rolling

Can you guess what these are?

Boxes on a cart? Yep! Boxes filled with.... rocks! Specifically projectile points and chipped stone tools.

All those boxes on that cart, yes all of them, are chipped stone pieces from a donation the museum received in the 1950s. The catalog cards read something like "Cigar box of arrowpoints, 200 in box. Found at campsites along the Columbia River." And there are many cards like that. At some point the "arrowpoints" were removed from the boxes they were donated in and put in these white cardboard boxes; I would guess it happened in the mid to late 1970s. And they've been sitting in them since then.

From time to time, people have worked with this collection of chipped stone, recording information about each object, placing it in a bag, and writing a unique object number on the bag. But the objects still remained in these boxes.

I find it difficult to locate things in the boxes, even the ones which have been previously worked over and individually bagged. In light of this, I have asked one of my intrepid volunteers to help me organize these lithics so that they are accessible. And also so we are able to evaluate if the 200 in the cigar box still number 200, or if some have been misplaced over the years. This project will also allow us to bag the loose objects for consistency. Additionally, the individual bags will protect the points from the kind of damage possible in the older storage (ie, a bunch of them in a box). A further benefit is that this project makes the objects more accessible to any researchers interested in working with this unprovenienced collection of lithics.

In the end, this arrangement will be more accessible, better organized, more easily assessed, and will save space.

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