Saturday, January 26, 2013

Halvor L. Skavlem, Flintknapping Hall of Fame Flintknapper # 12

Halvor L. Skavlem, was one of the first known white flintknappers in America, he belonged to a pioneer Norwegian family of Southern Wisconsin. At the turn of the last century Indians and artifacts were not uncommon in Halvor's neighborhood, in fact artifacts were numerous. Young Halvor had a very inquisitive mind. He began asking himself how the Indians made these stone tools and utensils.
It was in the month of September, 1912, When Mr. Halvor L Skavlem was hunting stone arrow heads and artifacts in the cornfield behind his summer home at Lake Koshkonong. He had done this many times over the years, but on this particular occasion he began asking himself that old question: how were these flint implements made and resharpened. He located a chert cobble and struck it upon a piece of flint , hence discovering to himself the percussion method of flake removal. Halvor L. Skavlem's flint working experiments were published by the Logan Museum in Beloit, Wisconsin. The ideas were put into a text format by Halvor's pupil and portage, Alonzo W. Pond. Mr. Skavlem was still making arrowheads during this period and he was eighty-four years old. In June of 1923, an article called "The Arrow Maker" by Charles D. Stewart was published in the Atlantic Monthly. A flood of protest letters came in on the article. People who collected artifacts at the time did not want "the lost art" revived by Skavlem, for obvious reasons they did not want neofacts mixed in with the ancient collectibles. Mr. Skavlem visited some of the Chippewa Indians in Northern Wisconsin. The Chippewa had no flintknapping tradition left, so he got his gear together and gave a demo and showed them how it was done. At first Halvor picked up flint chips left over from Indian flint reduction sites and tried to chip them with bones. Later he found old cow bones and sharpened them down to a blunt point, he then got an old chopping -block from the wood pile and customized a lap top work bench. He put the bone on the edge of the flint and pressed down and the flint chipped off nicely. He turned the arrowhead over and did the same on the other side, giving it a toothed effect. Halvor made thousands of flint items in his lifetime; turtles, fish hooks, arrow heads, animals, ax heads, celts, and so on. He also was very much in deep thought while doing his flaking. Halvor understood the theories of the conchoidal fracture, Hertzian cone, lithic geology.-

Halvor L. Skavlem, Flintknapping Hall of Fame Flintknapper The International Flintknappers ‘ Hall of Fame and Museum is encouraging individuals of all ages to “Be A Superior Example,” through a new education program as part of a new curriculum to promote healthy habits, while encouraging everyone to live free of drugs and other such substances or vices. It serves as the central point for the study of the history of flintknapping in the United States and beyond, displays flintknapping-related artifacts and exhibits, and honors those who have excelled in the craft, research/ writing, promoting events, and serving the knapping community in an ethical and wilderness loving manner.

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