Casts: An
Indispensable Tool
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Casts are the most important tools a student of point typology can have,
next to a brain. Casting makes rare, important, or valuable material
available to anyone who would like to study it. Science is more than
curiosity. Science is predicated on the ability of different researchers to
repeat experiments and reach the same conclusion. When archeological
materials are controlled by individuals or institutions with vested interests
in their version of the truth being correct, it takes the science out of
archaeology. Casts of important material help put the science back in
archaeology by allowing a wide range of people to examine important lithic
material and draw their own conclusions. Far more than toys, these plastic
points, tools and debatage flakes are more packed with information than
any book. They are three-dimensional copies which preserve most of the
diagnostic information of the original.
I would not be able to function at the level of competency I have achieved
as an authenticator without a large library of casts for reference. I have
typed thousands of points for individuals and museums, and each time that
individual benefited indirectly from the work done by those who cast
important points. What is an Agate Basin? Is it a point that looks like the
picture in a book, is it a point like the one in your friends collection he calls
an Agate Basin? Is it something like those long white things at gun shows?
No. An Agate basin is a point technologically identical or close to the ones
from Agate Basin, WY, which were used to define the type. That’s harsh, but
that’s reality. So thank your favorite deity for the work of Shane
Cloberdanze! Shane has unprecedented access to lots of  important type
sets, and has casts available of many, with many more in the works. Thanks
to Shane, hundreds of people now know what an Agate Basin is, and isn’t!
Shane sells casts as High Plains Casting.
Pete Bostrum is the pre-eminent lithic caster working today. Years of
practice have honed his skills, and his work for archeologists and museums
has allowed him to accumulate a massive collection of casts. These include
important paleo material, such as points from the Mesa site in Alaska. Mr.
Bostrums’s Clovis material is indispensable for the serious student of paleo
technology.
And while I’m praising these worthy gentlemen, let me hasten to include
Jim Chase. Jim sells casts under the trade name Dupli-Cast. Jim is an avid
hunter, and has registered several Colorado Folsom sites with that states
Archeological Survey. He’s also a hell of a nice guy. I have many of Jim’s
casts. His Black Water Draw casts were illustrated on our Clovis Reduction
poster. I consult my Jim Chase casts all the time.
    These guys are the shock troops of the avocational archeology, in the
front line making archaeological materials available to you and me. They
are using their artistic talent and abilities as archaeologists to clarify the
always muddy waters of typology. Support these guys, and educate
yourself- order something!

   
By Bill Breckinridge
Tom Steel of Garden City, KS
makes these frames. A Riker
mount fits into an oak frame,
allowing easy access to your
casts while dressing up some
wall space. They won't break if
they fall, and you can ponder
them without having them
laying all over the place.
I'm in and out of these frames alot.
That's why they look so sloppy!