Wednesday, 20 November 2019

WW: Aboriginal hole

(Found this giant old cedar stump on the beach some time ago. The hole has been a matter of conjecture ever since. It's clearly not the work of an animal; too clean and too conical.

But the clincher is that remnant of charcoal.

Only one culture I know around here did that, and they gave it up when they got steel. Until then, to determine whether a trunk was sound enough for construction, they gnawed a shallow pit in it with their knapped adzes, kindled a tiny fire inside, then deepened the test hole by pecking out the charred wood.

But the arrival of crosscut saws made it economical to fell first and ask questions later.

Is this stump old enough? Well, it's a stump, saturated with preservative resin, and has been pickling in a saline environment since it washed into the bay a long time ago.

And I haven’t come up with a better theory.)


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