You are here

An unrecorded method of manufacturing wooden implements by simple stone tools

TitleAn unrecorded method of manufacturing wooden implements by simple stone tools
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1941
JournalTransactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of South Australia
Type of Articlearticle
Publication LanguageEnglish

J. Whittaker: Pitjendadjara manufacture of woomera type atlatl using the adze stone which is often attached to the handle with gum. Stages: A. Cutting and splitting rough slab from living mulga (Acacia) tree, using local stones with natural sharp edges, and wooden wedges. The main stone was gneiss, weighed 7 lbs, abandoned after use. Took a couple hours, several men participated. B. Shaping and finishing. Removed bark and heartwood, using smaller unflaked stones (gneiss, 3 lbs), leaving it roughly finished. Then smoothed and flaked with adze stone in spear thrower handle, held and 30 degree angle and used with planing or scraping stroke, sometimes chopping. Adze stone retouched several times by “tapping with wooden blade of a spear to remove miniature flakes” while held in palm. Adze stone set into mass of spinifex gum with 1/8-3/16 “ of edge projecting. Any flake of suitable size with a cutting edge, natural or knapped. Often stored in owner’s hair! “Throwing peg” attached with gum and sinew, at about 30 degree angle. Whole spear-thrower rubbed with red ochre. Total time, 3-4 hours. [Diagrams and photos of process.]
Most important tool in their sparse material culture: serves as spear-thrower, cutting tool, small dish, firemaking friction saw.