|53||THE STONE IMPLEMENTS OF KAHUN.|
only it occasionally occurs from both sides. It appears that when these knives got a little blunted they were not retrimmed, but simply used up carelessly. They are smoothed on both edges at the smaller end or tang so as not to cut through a wisp of palm leaf or cloth, which was placed there and bound round with a piece of cord to give a hold for the fingers. One such is figured in Illahun PL. XIII. 6. it is equal in workmanship to the best of these knives. It is notable that of the unbroken blades found in Kahun, this last has suffered more than any from use, it having lost nearly half an inch of breadth from the widest part of the convex edge. None of the knives have evidence of any other mode of hafting. This slight hafting appears to be no mere carelessness. From the nature of flint and the thinness of the blades it is evident that (for instruments not used for thrusting) a handle giving too great a grip might cause the operator to employ too much force in the act of cutting and hacking, if however the blade was delicately held by but two fingers and the thumb, the limited amount of force which the blade could bear was involuntarily secured. There is another form of knife, Illahun PL VII. 16, of which a whole blade was not found at Kahun. The type of handle is like that found at Arsinoe, Hawara PL. XXVII. 5, though the Kahun example must have had a shorter blade. The very fine Arsinoe example is apparently of the same style of workmanship as those of Kahun and is perhaps of the same date, as it came from disturbed soil excavated from a XIIth dynasty site. The hollowed part of the handle was probably for the reception of two fingers, the thumb being placed above, as before mentioned; and it is noticeable that the larger the blade the more the grasp is limited.
There is yet another form of knife which deserves mention, although no specimen complete enough to figure has been discovered. The workmanship is of the best. One edge is straight and thin. The two flat surfaces do not meet at the outer and slightly convex edge, but are connected by a regular bevel led slope making a right angle in section with one of the sides. The examples found appear to have been used exclusively on the straight edge, which looks as if it had been employed to cut soft material on a board, the thick edge is unworn. The instrument is sharply pointed and has the appearance of a thickbacked knife, the tang is little marked, so that perhaps the knife was held by the middle of the back. There are four tools figured in Kahun XVI. [to the left of column shaft] which have been adapted from other broken tools. They seem to have been employed as chisels or gouges, though there is no signs of bruising.
One little instrument above the axe in Kahun PL. XVI. is flat and bevelled all round the edge; it must have been mounted as axes were, but may have been employed with others in combination and not used for striking blows.
In Illahun PL, VII. 15 and Kahun XVI. are represented broad flakes with secondary chipping for use as straight edge and scrapers. A small instrument is figured in Kahun PL. XVI, it is U shaped with a straight line at the top (broken at the corners). Its average thickness is of an inch ; it is very fairly chipped on the convex surface (the other being flat) of one side only, and very delicate. It will cut with facility pith, wet or dry papyrus - perhaps this was its use.
The employment of mere flakes for use apparently without preparation was of course very common. The art of flaking, if not shared by every member of the community, cannot have been a rare one. But the lack of cores at Kahun is remarkable, none having been found in the houses, nor any special chipping-ground. However plenty of well-formed flakes, long, straight and thin were available for cutting, scraping, or boring holes, in short for all the purposes a pocket knife is carried. In one instance. Find No. 9 Kahun, 1890 (Illahun PL XIII. 1-18) a leather bag was found containing a copper tool or two with other odds and ends) also portions of flint knives and some straight cutting flakes. Many flakes were smoothly blunted along one or both edges. No implements were found in the town suitable for stone facing nor for saws. In the latter case it is impossible to imagine that serrated flakes could be serviceably set as such. Nor were such clumsy saws wanted, bronze or copper having long been in use for the purpose. Some flakes with roughened edges seem to have been used for wood work after the manner we could use the edge of a rasp.
There is little doubt that many knives were made at favourable places and hawked about the country.
88. Besides the numerous flakes which have been slightly modified by secondary chipping or by use, are some which have been found in the town and many more in the miscellaneous gatherings of the neighbourhood. They have long been known to collectors and described as saws. The finding however of a wooden sickle with one of these flints
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