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The Sweetwater Biface Measured

 

On November 3rd, 2015. I had the great honor and pleasure of measuring the Sweetwater Biface artifact. The Sweetwater Biface is owned by David Bogle and is on display at his museum, the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville AR. http://www.monah.us/   Mr. Bogle has a excellent museum which I recommend you visit if you are able. I also want to thank Mr. Bogle for allowing me the privilege of measuring the Sweetwater Biface.

Anyone who has followed my blog over the years very well knows that the Sweetwater Biface has always been of great interest to my father and I. We have marveled over how unbelievably thin it is and just how it could have  possibly been made.(more to come on that topic in the future). But the question has always been, is the cast of the Sweetwater accurate to the measures of the actual biface itself. There have been several threads about the Sweetwater biface on Paleo Planet forum over the years, with many flintknappers wondering about the actual thickness of the Sweetwater biface.

My Fowler thickness gage measures to 1/1000th of an inch and it was tested for accuracy by measuring a .08 inch spark plug gaper in the presence of Mr. Bogle. As it turns out, the Sweetwater cast is virtually the same as the Sweetwater biface in thickness, with the cast being only .01 (.25 mm) thinner than the actual biface. The Sweetwater biface is 9.36 inches long (237.7 mm) 3.34 inches wide.(84.8 mm) and it ranges in thickness from .10-.25 inches (2.54mm to 6.35mm) with an average thickness of .18 inches (4.57mm). The average width is 2.88 inches (73.15mm)(refer to the Measuring and Scoring page to see how I determine the average width and thickness). This places the average width to thickness ratio(average width divided by the average thickness) at 16/1 and the standard width to thickness ratio(widest point divided by largest thickness) at 13.5/1.

As it turns out, my father's attempt at replicating the Sweetwater Biface is .04 (4/100th) of an inch thicker based on an average thickness.

I would like to personally thank Ben Swadley, who is the curator at Parkin Archeological State Park in Parkin, AR  http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parkinarcheological/ (which I highly recommend you visit as well) for helping set this whole endeavor up.

 

 

 

 

Left to Right: my father Bill, David Bogle and myself

The outside of the museum

Ben Swadley