Replicas of artifacts

Jewelry replica | Bone tool examples | Return to my home page.

Replicas of archaeological artifacts are often needed, as in cases where the original is not available for public display because it is being studied in a laboratory. Or perhaps a Native American people wish to keep their heirlooms themselves but allow us to make copies so that we may show others what the pieces look like.


Quill & Bead Jewelry Replica

The jewelry piece I have reproduced here is made of porcupine quills and seed beads on a deerskin backing. Native Americans first obtained seed beads from European traders. (Click on the picture to see an enlarged image.) quill and bead jewelry
Before seed beads were available, clothing and household items such as storage boxes were sometimes decorated with porcupine quills. The Algonkian and Iroquois peoples in particular raised quill work to an extremely high art form.

To make the quills soft enough which with to work, it is easiest to put them in water to soften them. The quills in this piece were so worked. They were dyed using natural materials such as minerals and berries.

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Bone Tool Replicas

Here are 3 bone piece replicas which I made. (For more examples with better graphics, click here.)
  • The item on the top left is a hair comb (to give a sense of scale, it's roughly 6.5 cm high). The teeth of the comb were made by cutting slits in the bone using a piece of flint struck from a blank to make a knife like tool.
  • The item on top right is a Northwest Coast Tlingit salmon hook. The barb is made from a bone splinter sharpened and shaped on a piece of sandstone. The shank is cedar worked with flint and sandstone. The cord is made of cedar bark.
  • The item on the bottom is a bone awl made of a piece of turkey wing bone.
Bone Tools
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Susan K. Nelson has a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology Education from the McGregor School at Antioch University.