|54||THE STONE IMPLEMENTS OF KAHUN.|
mounted in it has changed the name hitherto borne to the right one of sickle teeth. Examples of these teeth are given in PL. VII. 5, 5A and 6, and in Kahun PL. XVI. Commonly these teeth are the middle parts of long flakes) either end having been removed in consequence of irregularities. They are more or less regularly toothed or serrated. Occasionally some are found which can scarcely be said to be more than jagged. They vary in length from half an inch to four inches. The average is 1½ inch. Some of the serrations are close without an interval, others with long intervals even as much as a quarter of an inch, and a few have been found apparently unnotched. In experiments made to try the value of notched and unnotched edges, it was found that the plain ones cut at first like an iron blade, but the edge became smooth very quickly, while notched flakes had an incomparably longer life. The sickle found in 1889 is figured in Kahun PL. IX. 22. It must have consisted originally of one piece of wood, for although a fresh tip had been added, probably from breakage, I cannot think that the wood was cut off needlessly in order to put on a weaker tip, as an examination of the grain clearly shows that the wood must have extended much further in the required direction. The broad part was curved during growth, perhaps intentionally with a view to the manufacture of the instrument. Its form irresistibly recalls the form of (half) a lower jaw perhaps of the ox or horse. Were such a jaw actually employed for reaping, certain modifications would be required to adapt it to efficient use, thus as the hand would have a difficulty in grasping the rather short and knobby condyle and coronoid process, they would be smoothed down and a handy piece of wood lashed on; then as the distal end of the body would be occupied by a row of incisors, they would be supplanted by a long stick placed in one of the sockets ; and lastly, as the teeth are not very suitable for cutting corn they would have to be knocked out and replaced by a row of serrated flint flakes. In the first found sickle of the XIIth dynasty all these improvements were united, and the bone itself replaced by a single piece of wood, of course a great advance on the crude idea. A groove is cut to hold the notched flints or teeth, which were fine and thin, one remaining in its original position. The groove is filled with a grey brown cement to hold the teeth, formed of clay or mud and gum or glue ; a quantity of this cement is smeared over the junction of the wood and the teeth, and resembles and apparently does some of the duty of the gums in an animal. The teeth are partly buried in the groove which in the Kahun examples was cut by metal chisels, and so far as can be seen, the groove did not exceed a half inch in depth. A quarter of an inch of the flake was overlapped by the "gum" and about the same quantity projected. These measures are for the centre of the groove. Towards the point of the stcide the proportions are reduced, at the near end slightly increased. At the latter a special modification of the shape of the end tooth was necessary, of which an ordinary example is given in PL. VII. 5A, on which the parts covered by the socket, by the gum, and free, are indicated by lines. The flakes or teeth at the further end dimin- ished almost to a point and faded into the general contour of the jaw. Taken as a whole the implement has reached perfection, but it is unlikely that sickles were often made as this one, from the difficulty of getting single pieces of wood capable of being worked into the required curves. They were usually made in three pieces, the body, the handle and the point. These compound ones, of which the several parts were separately found in Kahun, always have the " angle " of the jaw very sharp. The handles of all the sickles perfect, or in part, fit the right hand and cannot be employed by the left.
80. That part of the flint teeth left free to cut with is usually brightly polished with the lower margin of polish distinctly marked. Experiments were made with flint (from Egypt) to see whether the sawing of wood, bone, horn, or other such materials would produce it, but without success. The rubbing of flint with sand did not do so; in fact the polish of sand-smoothed flints is very subdued and of a coarser nature, never reaching that obtained by the friction of the fine, organic silica of the stems of cereal grasses. It is often found that the high polish of flakes is in part removed by sand wear, if exposed. The sickle teeth naturally fell out, and were ground down and blunted in the act of reaping. When this happened they were renewed, frequently by the reversal of the same tooth in the groove after the serration of the new edge. Indeed, in anticipation of such an event some teeth were inserted already serrated on the lower edge. On PL. VII. 27 of this volume a compound sickle with three teeth still attached is shewn, its parts differ in no important particular from the parts of compound sickles found in 1889 at Kahun, which belong to the XIIth dynasty; to which date I would have assigned it. But Mr. Petrie on the strength of a piece of XVIIIth
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