Longitudinal Study of Antler Drying and Workability


In the second phase of study, Kat and Sunjana used the same lithic (stone) toolkit to groove sections of local elk antler.  This time they clocked their cut rates as the antler followed a natural course of drying.  The results of this ongoing study will help delineate the window in which antler can be worked before it becomes too hard and dry to realistic shape with stone tools.  We are also interested in how labor times and working
strategies for antler carving may vary between individuals, even those who have similar degrees of experience and training.

Oberlin undergraduate researchers Kat Lamp and Sunjana Supekar (OC '11) first spent several weeks mastering basic techniques for creating tools from bone and antler. Here you can see them using flint flakes to groove, saw, and section portions of reindeer antler.