Author Archive

Hands-On Archaeology: How to Tan a Hide

Softening the Hide
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (March 29, 2017)—In this post I will describe the process of brain-tanning, which I learned last month at Winter Count. I have to admit, though I have seen the process in parts, it always looked like more work than I wanted to do. Still, this year I […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make Prismatic Blades, Featuring Greg Nunn

Blade Core with Elk Tine
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (March 14, 2017)—I recently attended WinterCount, an outdoor traditional technology gathering near Gila Bend, AZ. More than 650 people attended this sold-out event, more than 100 of whom were instructors. I attend as a student, to advance my skills in areas I have not yet explored. I […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make a Shell Tinkler

Shell Tinkler
Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (January 19, 2017)—Shell tinklers are a relatively common shell artifact we find in Hohokam and Salado archaeological sites in southern Arizona. Most are made of Conus shell or Olivella shell, both of which come from the Gulf of California. People strung the shells together such that they […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Incise Bone

Finished Awl Design
Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (December 22, 2016)—Last-minute holiday gift idea! Review my previous post on how to make bone awls, and then check out this post to learn how to decorate your awl. For this project, I used a large bone awl made out of an elk metacarpal. I made this […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make a Bone Awl

Nacho Splitting Bone
Monday, December 12th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (December 12, 2016)—You might have seen pictures on our Facebook page from a bone-tool making workshop I did recently. Here they are in case you missed them. And now here’s a post on how to make a bone awl. You can also sign up for my upcoming […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make Flintknapping Tools

Grinding Antler Tine
Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (October 27, 2016)—In this post, I’ll explain how to make a set of tools for flintknapping. Specifically, I will show how to create a set of traditional tools that is very much like what people used in the distant past. Many contemporary flintknappers use modern composite tools […]



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Painting Party

Nathan Denyoyer
Monday, October 10th, 2016

As International Archaeology Day (October 15, 2016) approaches, we’re celebrating by sharing posts about what we’re working on now—the daily work of archaeology. It could easily be argued that in this regard, Allen has the most fun of any of our staff on a daily basis! Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (October 10, 2016)—We […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Heat-Treat Rock

Charcoal Burning
Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 23, 2016)—In this post, I show the process I use to heat-treat rocks. I learned this technique years ago and have been using it ever since. Why heat-treat rock? In short, because it makes tough or grainy rock easier to flake. The best rock for flintknapping […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Haft a Point into a Foreshaft

Sinew After Drying
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 7, 2016)—Hunters probably used foreshafts for multiple purposes, including as knives. In this example I will show how to use real sinew with pitch to haft a point. This makes a very strong haft. Putting a little bit of pitch over the sinew makes it waterproof […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Haft a Stone Knife, Dart Point, or Arrow Point

Hafting Knives
Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 2, 2016)—During the field school for the past two years we have used hafted stone knives to carve the hooks in our atlatls. These knives also work incredibly well for a variety of tasks, from carving wood to cutting willows. They can be used like a […]



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Hands-On Archaeology: How to Make Pitch Sticks

Pitch Sticks
Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (September 1, 2016)—All projectile points are but one component of a hunter’s equipment—each point would have been hafted to a foreshaft or handle. There are several materials that may be used to accomplish this task. In this post, I will show how I make a pine-pitch resin […]



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A Fine Day at Himdag Ki

Atlatl Workshop
Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (March 8, 2016)—On February 26, a group of us gathered under an expansive mesquite ramada at Himdag Ki, the Tohono O’odham Cultural Center and Museum in Topawa, Arizona. I had been invited to show the group how to make atlatls using only stone tools. I had planned […]



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My Flintknapping Problem

Bifaces
Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (December 17, 2015)—I was reading an old book (1927) about artifact collecting recently, and I came across a funny line. The author, Virgil Y. Russell, offered this advice on how to make “Indian arrowheads”: Don’t. Never even try. It is just as foolish as it would be […]



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From Arrowhead Hunter to Archaeologist

Allen at Crow Canyon
Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Between now and October 17, 2015, Archaeology Southwest is participating in the Archaeological Institute of America’s celebration of International Archaeology Day (10/17/15) by sharing blog posts about why—or how—we became archaeologists. Today we feature Allen Denoyer, who leads our Hands-On Archaeology program. Previous posts in the series are here. Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient […]



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Raising the Roof

Salado Room Entryway at Night
Friday, August 7th, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert (August 7, 2015)—The process began before the students arrived. After obtaining a Forest Service permit, I cut a couple of loads of juniper poles for the roof. I cut the poles when they were green, so they were heavy! I had the students use stone axes to […]



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Pottery Workshop with Andy Ward

Andy Ward
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert   The field school students and some of the staff took part in a pottery workshop on the afternoon of the 31st. Potter Andy Ward presented the workshop. He brought out two buckets of prepared clay for the students and staff to try their hands at making […]



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Are You an Entomologist or a Pest Control Expert? We Have Questions…

Termite Damage to the Ramada
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert One of the interesting things I have noticed out at the replica pithouse at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley, Arizona, is the amount of termite damage to the ramada we built next to the pithouse. We built the ramada of mesquite. The four main support poles […]



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My Week in Paradise (of a sort)

Decorated Ceramics at Winter Count
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert From February 15–21, I attended an outdoor primitive technology encampment called Winter Count located near Phoenix. Experts in a wide variety of ancient technology skills gather twice a year to share their knowledge with students and each other. Winter Count is a great way to improve one’s […]



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What I’m Doing This Week: Allen Denoyer

Allen Floating the Pithouse Roof
Friday, February 6th, 2015

Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert Yesterday and today, I’ve been repairing our pilot pithouse at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley, Arizona. In these pictures, volunteer Katie Bubnekovich is soaking the roof and I am floating it with a hand stone.



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Meltdown!

Pithouse Interior Flooding
Friday, September 12th, 2014

By Allen Denoyer, Preservation Archaeologist and Ancient Technologies Expert   On September 8, 2014, southern Arizona received heavy rains from a hurricane (Norbert) moving up along the Baja California of Mexico. Previous rains had caused some damage to our pilot pithouse experiment, but Monday’s storm dropped around 4 inches of rain in Oro Valley, melting […]



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