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Other Name
OBSIDIAN CORE
Date Range From
4000BP
Date Range To
1700
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
OBSIDIAN
Catalogue Number
P20150027000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
OBSIDIAN CORE
Date Range From
4000BP
Date Range To
1700
Materials
OBSIDIAN
No. Pieces
1
Height
8.5
Length
32.7
Width
24.7
Description
SHINY, BLACK OBSIDIAN ROCK. VARIOUS GROOVES AND FLAKE SCARS ON THE OVERALL SURFACE OF THE ROCK.
Subjects
MASONRY & STONEWORKING T&E
INDIGENOUS
Historical Association
ETHNOGRAPHIC
ARCHAEOLOGY
History
THIS OBSIDIAN ROCK WAS DONATED ON SEPTEMBER 16, 2015 BY NANCY BIGGERS IN MEMORY OF HER LATE PARENTS, BOYD AND MARY BIGGERS. IT WAS LOCATED ON THE FAMILY FARM BY BOYD BIGGERS. ACCORDING TO A STATEMENT GIVEN BY NANCY AT THE TIME OF DONATION, "... FARMERS NEED TO CLEAR THEIR LAND OF ... ROCKS IN ORDER TO PLANT AND HARVEST THEIR FIELDS. BOYD WAS DOING THIS ONE DAY (IN THE EARLY 1980S) AND CAME ACROSS A BEAUTIFUL SHINY BLACK ROCK. HE WAS IMPRESSED BY [ITS] COLOURING AND THE VARIOUS GROOVES, SO RATHER THAN THROWING IT ON TO THE PILE WITH THE OTHER ROCKS, HE DECIDED TO TAKE IT HOME. ... MARY, BEING A SCHOOL TEACHER, TOLD HIM THAT IT APPEARED TO BE OBSIDIAN, WHICH THE ABORIGINALS USED TO MAKE ARROWHEADS AND TOOLS. MARY RETIRED FROM TEACHING IN 1986 AND THUS BOYD DECIDED TO SELL THE FARM. THEY MOVED TO LETHBRIDGE ... [AND] THE OBSIDIAN CAME WITH THEM ... AS IT WAS A REMINDER OF THEIR FARM LIFE. IT WAS USED AS A DECORATIVE PIECE IN BOTH OF THE HOMES IN WHICH THEY LIVED IN LETHBRIDGE." ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2015, ARCHEOLOGIST, NEIL MIRAU, OF ARROW ARCHAEOLOGY LIMITED STATED VIA EMAIL THAT THE ROCK HAD BEEN BROUGHT TO THE AREA BY HUMANS AND THAT IT WAS RELATIVELY EASY TO DETERMINE THE SOURCE OF THE OBSIDIAN FROM ITS GENERAL APPEARANCE. HE WAS ALMOST CERTAIN THAT THIS PIECE OF OBSIDIAN CAME FROM THE OBSIDIAN CLIFFS IN WHAT IS NOW YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING. HE WROTE, “OBSIDIAN DOES NOT OCCUR NATURALLY IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA AND REALLY THE ONLY WAY FOR IT TO GET HERE, ESPECIALLY THIS TYPE OF ROCK IS TO BE CARRIED BY HUMANS. OBSIDIAN ... WAS PRIZED BY PAST CULTURES AND IT MAKES VERY ATTRACTIVE AND VERY SHARP TOOLS AND PROJECTILE POINTS. THIS PARTICULAR PIECE HAS FLAKE SCARS SHOWING THAT IT WAS WORKED BY HUMANS. IT WAS LIKELY, GIVEN ITS ‘VALUE,’ CARRIED BY ITS OWNER TO FLAKE PIECES OFF EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE TO MAKE A NEW TOOL. OBSIDIAN IS ONE OF THE RARE TYPES OF STONE THAT IS CURATED BY PAST HUMANS, THAT IS, ALTHOUGH HEAVY, THEY WOULD HAVE CARRIED IT WITH THEM TO MAKE TOOLS WITH.” HE ALSO WROTE THAT OBSIDIAN FROM WYOMING THAT HAS BEEN FOUND IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA HAS ARRIVED “EITHER THROUGH TRADE OR BY LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL OF PEOPLE FROM HERE TO THERE AND RETURN," AND THAT THERE IS EVIDENCE OF BOTH METHODS. MIRAU INFERS THAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN DROPPED THERE THREE OR FOUR CENTURIES AGO, OR MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR COPY OF THE NANCY BIGGER’S INFORMATION, EMAIL TRANSCRIPTS, MAPS OF THE LOCATION OF THE BIGGERS’ FARM WHERE ARTIFACT WAS FOUND, AND A PHOTOGRAPH OF BOYD AND MARY BIGGERS.
Catalogue Number
P20150027000
Acquisition Date
2015-09
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail