GALLERY
OF
ARCHAEOLOGY

  THIS MONTH---GEORGE EKLUND, "THE ROCK MONSTER," PLUS A CAST OF A SPIDER ECCENTRIC FROM GUATEMALA.

Removing a mastodon tusk from clear Florida waters.
PICTURE CREDITS
FLORIDA DEPT. OF STATE BUREAU OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH,DR. JIM DUNBAR &
ARCHAEOLOGICAL LABORATORY, CENTER FOR WESTERN STUDIES, AUGUSTANA COLLEGE

    Beginning in the early 1970's I've seen and handled a large number of prehistoric stone artifacts from all over the world through various casting and photographic projects. Some of them have stood out as being especially important, or exhibiting a high degree of the craftsmen's skill or they may have shown some type of special uniqueness. In the "Gallery Of Archaeology" I will illustrate some of the things that keep me interested in this subject---------------The Stone Age lasted for millions of years which represents almost all the time that humans have been using tools. It's literally a technology that has shaped the world!

Peter A. Bostrom

Oldowan flake tool.
IT ALL STARTED
WITH A SIMPLE FLAKE!

THIS EXAMPLE FROM OLDUVAI GORGE, TANZANIA
MADE BY HOMO HABILIS 2 MILLION YEARS AGO

UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY, DEPT. OF ANTHROPOLOGY COLLECTION

PAGE 1
GEORGE EKLUND
"THE ROCK MONSTER"
PAGE 1 OF 1 PAGES
COPYRIGHT JULY 31, 2014 PETER A. BOSTROM
George Eklund and some of his knapped points.
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER IMAGE
GEORGE EKLUND AND POINTS

Abstract image of George Eklund's points.

ABSTRACT
GEORGE EKLUND
FLINTKNAPPER

    This article illustrates and describes several examples of George Eklund's flint knapped art, tools, and raw materials. George is one of the few flintknappers living today who began to knap in the early 1960's, long before the "craft" really took off. His life-long path of fracturing stone into art began with his brother's find of an "arrowhead" in a plowed field in 1963. George says, "I couldn't believe it and something clicked in me, how did they make this?"

    "He (George Eklund) is credited by many with introducing copper billets (type of flintknapping tool), or at least being one of those who invented them."--------2004, John C. Whittaker, "American Flintknappers, Stone Age Art In The Age Of Computers" p. 76.
     "For a while he (George Eklund) made points only partly knapped from a large flake, still attached as if growing out of the stone."----2004, John C. Whittaker, "American Flintknappers, Stone Age Art In The Age Of Computers" p. 76.
    "George may have been the first modern flintknapper to use copper tools. His work shows a wide range of talent and creativity."----2005, Tom Onken, "Modern Lithic Artists Journal" p. 29.
    "The article about you (
George Eklund) in the Community Observer was most impressive and to sum up my feelings, I too, "dig you" as being one of the most outstanding youngsters in your field (of flintknapping) who can really devote his timeless efforts in such a stimulating venture."---------1974, Joe Bolger, Legislator - 11th District, Jackson County, Missouri, "Personal letter to George Eklund.
    "I (
George Eklund) use deer antlers, a leather pad, and sandstone. I can make about six arrowheads an hour."------1974, "Relics From Past, His Life's Work," The Examiner, Eastern Jackson County's Daily Newspaper, April 23, 1974 (front page).
    "Eklund says finding relics is not as important to him as determining how they were made. He has spent seven years just learning to chip arrowheads like the Indians did"
----1974, "Relics From Past, His Life's Work," The Examiner, Eastern Jackson County's Daily Newspaper, April 23, 1974 (front page).
     "In 1968 Eklund nearly severed a thumb while chipping and spent two months in the hospital (printer's mistake, was not that long). The keys to proper chipping are wrist pressure, angle, and beveling, he said."----1974, "Relics From Past, His Life's Work," The Examiner, Eastern Jackson County's Daily Newspaper, April 23, 1974 (front page).
   "George Eklund, a flint knapper who operates out of Independence, Mo., was brought to the Wichita State University campus this week by the archaeology department for a demonstration and question-answering session."----1978, James Michener, "Looking Sharp," The Sunflower (newspaper) p. 5.
    
"The Grove (Oklahoma) Public Library's February display features the artistry of "Flint Knapper" George Eklund, whose wizardry in reproducing ancient artifacts has been widely publicized and products of his talent may be found in collections across the United States, as well as abroad."----1996, Bob West, "Steppin Out," news paper clipping.

Abstract image of George Eklund's point-in-stone.
 
GEORGE EKLUND
FLINTKNAPPER

     George Eklund is a well-known and respected longtime member of the flintknapping community. He began making points in 1963, at the age of 13, long before there were knap-ins or anyone teaching the public how it was done. Don Crabtree (1912-1980) didn't start his summer field school in flintknapping until 1968. There were very few knappers at that time. At least, no where near the numbers of people flintknapping today. George began making "arrowheads" by experimentation and learning on his own.
     If you're interested in some of George's lithic art, you might try contacting him by his e-mail at eklundgeorgesr@gmail.com

Newspaper articles about George Eklund's flintknapping.
ARTICLES ABOUT GEORGE EKLUND

    Quite a lot has been written about George Eklund over-the-years. He's appeared in many many newspaper articles, newsletters, and books. They all seem to agree that his flintknapping art has been a worthy endeavor. One Oklahoma newspaper describes his ability in 1996 as "wizardry," "The Grove Public Library's February display features the artistry of "Flint Knapper" George Eklund, whose wizardry in reproducing ancient artifacts has been widely publicized and products of his talent may be found in collections across the United States, as well as abroad."
    The point at upper right in this picture is the one that his brother found and started George on his life's work of flintknapping. This inspiration manifested in the summer of 63, when he and his brother were crossing a field on their bikes. His brother yelled out, "I found an arrowhead." George says, "I couldn't believe it and something clicked in me, how did they make this?" So, as they say, the rest is history and " the rock monster" was born.

    A person's life-path is often influenced by small events. In George's case, his inspiration manifested in the summer of 63, when he and his brother were crossing a field on their bikes. His brother yelled out, "I found an arrowhead." George says, "I couldn't believe it and something clicked in me, how did they make this?" So, as they say, the rest is history and " the rock monster" was born.

George Eklund holding one of his point-in-stone art pieces.
PHOTO BY DAVE DUFF & COMPUTER ALTERED BY PETE BOSTROM
POINT-IN-STONE
ONE OF GEORGE'S SIGNATURE ART PIECES

    This picture shows George Eklund holding one of his points-in-stone lithic art pieces. The stone is a Texas flint nodule and it measures about 14 1/2 inches (36.8 cm) from side to side.

    George began to learn flake removal techniques by trial and error, using everything from nails to antler. By-the-way, he says dripping water on a hot rock doesn't work. Like Ralphie says, "you'll shoot your eye out." He started by using a metal hammer to remove large flakes and he removed pressure flakes by pressing up instead of down. His path to learning flintknapping was interrupted though. In 1968, one of these upward, "Obsidian," flake removals almost severed his thumb and he spent several days in the hospital. Charley Shewey is the "old time" flintknapper who later taught George how to do proper technical percussion flaking. George said he told him "you can't do percussion flaking by pressure," which is what George was trying to do in the beginning. But George Eklund did learn how to do pressure flaking on his own.

Debris field in George Eklund's workshop.
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER IMAGE
"DEBRIS FIELD" IN KNAPPING WORKSHOP

    This picture shows an area inside George Eklund's workshop. A lot of the stone appears to be Missouri Mozarkite. Several finished Archaic type points can be seen and a few points-in-stone pieces.

     George is known for his ability to finish points quickly. In fact, Some flintknappers call him "the rock monster" because he "devours rock" so quickly. A newspaper article in 1974 quotes him as saying, "I can make about six arrowheads in an hour." Now, in 2014, George says he can make twelve in an hour. Whittaker (2004) writes that George is "one of the most exciting knappers to watch." He describes him as working so fast that it's hard to follow. "He often handles large pieces and works very fast, flipping his bifaces up in the air as he turns them over to work on the other face and striking them almost before they are at rest again." (Whittaker, 2004)

George Eklund's hands in various stages of pressure flaking.
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER IMAGE
GEORGE EKLUND'S HANDS
IN VARIOUS PRESSURE FLAKING POSITIONS

     This picture shows George's hands in various positions of pressure flaking. The tool he is using is a copper pressure flaker. It's being used to trim and thin the edge of one point and the base of a Dalton point. The other point is a Hardin which he is shown finishing one of the notches.

     George is credited, by some, as the inventor of copper billets. In the very least, he is one of the inventors. He definitely launched the idea, early on and influenced many other flintknappers with the use of copper tools. George has been saying for a long time, "let the tool do the work." A billet percussion flaking tool made of copper can remove flakes much easier and faster than one made of antler. He began using antler but switched to copper for most of the years he has been flintknapping. Copper knapping tools are also more durable and cost effective, compared to antler tools. He says you have to find a piece of copper that has the right hardness for the type of work you want to do.

George Eklund's collection of copper knapping tools.
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER IMAGE
GEORGE EKLUND'S FLINTKNAPPING TOOLS

     This picture brings to mind a surgeon's operating room where all the tools are neatly laid out. These are the tools George Eklund uses to make his lithic art. The tools in the top row are copper billets. The eight tools to the right in the bottom row are copper pressure flakers. The right side of the picture shows George resharpening one of his pressure flakers on a small grinding stone.
     George is credited, by some, as the inventor of copper billets. In the very least, he is one of the inventors. He definitely launched the idea, early on and influenced many other flintknappers with the use of copper tools. A billet percussion flaking tool made of copper can remove flakes much easier and faster than one made of antler. George began using antler but switched to copper for most of the years he has been flintknapping. Copper knapping tools are also more durable and cost effective, compared to antler tools. He says you have to find a piece of copper that has the right hardness for the type of work you want to do.

     George Eklund is a prolific flintknapper. In other words, he is productive, creative, and inventive. These descriptive words reflects his ability to make unique forms of art. He may be the first person to have made the points-in-stone art he's famous for. These are partly finished points that are still attached to either nodules or flakes. They appear as if they are growing or emerging from the stone. He's also made frames of points that are mounted in soil with sticks, stones, and other debris, as they might look when first discovered in a field. Other forms of art include points attached onto driftwood, as if they settled that way in a streambed. He's also hafted broken segments of wooden shafts onto some of the points-in-stone sculptures. George is also known for different types of eccentrics, such as Valentines Day hearts and, believe-it-or-not, guitars. Waldorf wrote that, "He has come up with something new that I got a kick out of. He chips a guitar out of stone and they sell like hotcakes (Waldorf, 2006)."

A fine example of George Eklund's flint-art.
WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF "FLINT ART"
BY GEORGE EKLUND

    This is one of George's great pieces of lithic art. The old weathered piece of wood combines very well with the points. The points look as if they settled that way in a streambed. The point at top is one of his point-in-stone pieces. The bottom point is a Snyders point. This piece measures 10 inches (25,4 cm) across and 7 inches (17.7 cm) high.

     George Eklund has made all types of points. His favorites seem to be Archaic types, like Afton, Etley, Dalton, Hardin, corner notched, and Sedalia. But he can make any type of point, including, very good looking fluted points and fine art points. His flaking style is not to make them appear as perfect and uniform fine art points. But to make them appear as "normal" and natural looking. This is one of his unique flintknapping abilities. He can make them look old, which is difficult to do.

Thirteen examples of George Eklund's knapped points.
PHOTOS BY K KELLY & COMPUTER ALTERED BY PETE BOSTROM
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER IMAGE
POINTS MADE BY GEORGE EKLUND

     This picture shows a few of George Eklund's points, mostly out of Missouri chert. All the top row points appear to all be made from Mozarkite. The biface blade at the bottom is made from Texas Georgetown flint.
     George Eklund has made all types of points. His favorites seem to be Archaic types, like Afton, Etley, Dalton, Hardin, corner notched, and Sedalia. But he can make any type of point, including, very good looking fluted points and fine art points. His flaking style is not to make them appear as perfect and uniform fine art points. But to make them appear as "normal" and natural looking. This is one of his unique flintknapping abilities. He can make them look old, which can be difficult to do.

    George Eklund has appeared in many many newspaper articles, newsletters, and books over the years. They all seem to agree that his flintknapping art has been a worthy endeavor. One Oklahoma newspaper describes his ability as "wizardry," "The Grove Public Library's February display features the artistry of "Flint Knapper" George Eklund, whose wizardry in reproducing ancient artifacts has been widely publicized and products of his talent may be found in collections across the United States, as well as abroad." In 1974 he received a letter from a Jackson County Courthouse County Legislator saying that, "The article about you in the "Community Observer" was most impressive and to sum up my feelings, I too, "dig you" as being one of the most outstanding youngsters in your field who can really devote his timeless efforts in such a stimulating venture."

Fourteen examples of George Eklund's point-in-stone art.
PHOTOS BY K KELLEY & COMPUTER ALTERED BY PETE BOSTROM
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER IMAGE
GEORGE EKLUND POINT-IN-STONE ART

     George Eklund may be the first person to have made the points-in-stone art he's famous for. These are partly finished points that are still attached to either nodules or flakes. They appear as if they are growing or emerging from the stone. The upper portion of this picture shows eleven of his points-in-stone art pieces. At top center, there is another unique piece, which is five points attached together in a circular design. The two pieces at the bottom are two examples of his points-in-stone sculptures that are hafted with broken segments of wooden shafts.

    Over the years, George has demonstrated flintknapping to the general public and university students. One story involves the anthropology department at Wichita State University. They invited him to demonstrate the art of flintknapping to archaeology students and asked him to copy a Dalton point they had in their collection. When he finished, they said he didn't copy it perfectly, even though he thought he had done a pretty good job. Everything on the point was a perfect match, except for one thing, his bevel was backwards. He is left handed and produced a left handed bevel. The point they handed him was made, typically, by a right handed knapper and, of course, it a right handed bevel.

Colorful Missouri chert with George Eklund blank.
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGER IMAGE
COLORFUL LAMINE RIVER CHERT
WITH GEORGE EKLUND BLANK ON TOP

    This picture shows an example of a very colorful un-heat treated chert called Lamine River chert from Saline County, Missouri. The blank setting on top of the large flake was made by George.

     It would be safe to say that George has produced a great many tons of points and "blanks." The blanks are simple percussion shaped preforms that he has sold to other flintknappers. No one will ever know how much stone George has gone through by now but it surly must fill up one boxcar by now.

Several examples of Mozarkite nodules and a copper billet.
MISSOURI CHERT NODULES

    This picture shows one of the types of Missouri chert that George has used over the years. Some people call it Jefferson City chert and others refer to it as Mozarkite. These nodules were collected in the Jefferson City, Missouri area.

     George has used more Burlington formation chert than anything else. Other types of rock he's used are Mozarkite and Jefferson City chert from Missouri, Georgetown flint from Texas and Spanish Diggings quartzite from Wyoming. Most everything he's made is raw un-heat treated stone. He hasn't heat treated any rocks himself for twenty years or more. What little heat treated stone he might use now, he buys.

George "the younger" and George "the elder."
GEORGE "THE YOUNGER" & GEORGE THE "ELDER"

    This picture shows that George Eklund has been making points for a very long time. These pictures were taken about forty five years apart. On the left, he appears to be pressure edge trimming a large Obsidian corner notched point with an antler pressure flaker. On the right he's holding one of his copper billets.

     George Eklund is a serious knapper. He's made a living chipping rocks which is impressive on its own. His many different unique forms of art is a pleasure look at. If there is one thing for certain, where ever George Eklund goes, a trail of flakes aren't far behind.

"REFERENCES"

1974, "Relics From Past, His Life's Work," The Examiner, Eastern Jackson County's Daily Newspaper, April 23, 1974 (front page).
1974
, Bolger, Joe, Legislator - 11th District, Jackson County, Missouri, "Personal letter to George Eklund.
1978
, Michener, James, "Looking Sharp," The Sunflower (newspaper)
1996
, West, Bob, "Steppin Out," news paper clipping.
2004
, Whittaker, John C., "American Flintknappers, Stone Age Art In The Age Of Computers."
2005
, Onken, Tom, "Modern Lithic Artists Journal."
2006
, Waldorf, "Chips," Vol. 18 #4.
1990
Personal Communication with George Eklund.

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