Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The aftermath of class projects

I haven't had time to forumulate my post on toolstone preservation and flintknapping skill yet. Probably in a week.

So, to keep my loyal readers entertained, I thought I'd talk about the class projects my students turned in yesterday.

Here's a list of the projects:

Griding acorns into flour, leaching tannin from the flour, and processing it into small edible cakes (for us to eat)(interesting flavor).
Making a corrugated pot.
Carving Mayan glyphs into an unfired pot.
Making an Egyptian canopic jar (with the head of anubis on the lid).
Exerimenting with different designs on southwestern pottery.
Hafting a projectile point to an arrowshaft.
Experimenting with different types of temper for ceramics (there were three of these types of projects).
Making an atlatl shaft, complete with fletching.
Comparing cores made by a novice flintknapper and one with more experience.

There were some of my students who were not there, so I'm not sure what their projects will be like. I was most impressed with the acorn grinding and flour leaching, as well the project that carved glyphs into a pot.Both were incredibly labor intensive and very informative. The comparison of lithic cores was also very interesting.

One of the temper comparison studies proved informative. One of the students determined that the addition of temper is facilitated when the clay is also dry and powdery. He learned this by letting a lump of clay dry out, grinding it into powder, and then adding temper and water. He said it worked much better. What do all of you ceramicists think about that? I think it makes sense, especially if the potter is digging dry clay or dirt out of the ground.

I know that some of the students really struggled to create a finished product(some weren't very pretty), but for the most part, it seems like they did some great research.


Folsom8k said...

I was just informed by my friend Holly that Anubis does not belong on the lid of a canopic jar.

There is a jackal headed canopic jar lid, but apparently it is not Anubis.

mike searcy said...

I'd love to try some acorn cakes. Did the person add sugar and how do you leach out the tannin?

Folsom8k said...

She made the acorn cakes with a small muffin tin. She made one batch without anything added, just acorn flour and water and then made a tasiter version by adding a few modern ingredients (milk, eggs, sugar,etc).

She ground up the acorns using a mano and metate, but noticed a lot of rock dust and matter in the flour and decided that we wouldn't want to eat that. So she used a modern wheat grinder.

Leaching the tannin out was pretty easy, she took the ground flour, put it into a sieve and ran hot water on top of it. She kept the flour under the running water while stirring the flour, eventually the tannin was all leached out and the water draining from the flour was no longer brown colored.

Leaching only took her a few minutes, as opposed to sitting near a river bank for a full day using river water and a basket to leach it out (as was observed ethnographically)

The acron muffin/cakes without any additives had a really nutty flavor and were a little gritty. Kind of like lousy cornbread. The muffin/cakes with eggs, milk, sugar, and a little cinnamon were great. The nutty flavor was still there but not as overwhelming.

With the modern additives and a little homemade elderberry jam, the muffin/cakes were delicious.