Bone harpoon base from Marshall's Beach

DSL Bone harpoon pt.JPG

The following artifact was found on Marshall’s Beach in front of the midden by Ralph’s old house. It is made of sea mammal bone, probably sea lion. It is broken on the left end. The tapered and rounded end on the right is the original form. Note the dime for scale. Can you figure out what it is?

            It’s a harpoon head! It was probably used for spearing fish or possibly waterfowl.  The rounded end of the harpoon would have been set into a wooden shaft and then lashed to it.  The hole was to attach the retrieving line.  The outside of the lashing hole and the barbs have broken off of the Lasqueti example.

            This form of harpoon head was common throughout the Gulf of Georgia (from the Fraser estuary west to eastern Vancouver Island) from 2400-1200 years ago.  Before this time and after, other forms of harpoons were used more commonly.  We don’t know why there was this shift in style. 

            To my knowledge, it is the first harpoon head recovered on Lasqueti, though it is no surprise that it was found here.

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