Thursday, 16 July 2009

Stone axe blade

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In the past, Amazonians used stone tools for the essential work of felling trees and cutting wood. For Amazonian farmers today, axes are the basic tool necessary for clearing food gardens and village sites from the forest, as well as for cutting wood for houses and household utensils. Stone blades are quite good enough for this work, as we can see from the fine quality of wooden objects made with these tools. But compared to steel, which Amazonians have obtained in trade from other South Americans, stone tools have certain disadvantages. They take much time and effort to make, by chipping and grinding on other stones, they take more skill to use because they are less sharp and more fragile, and they do not cut so quickly. Nowadays chainsaws are used for many tasks formerly carried out with steel axes.

The shape of axe blades like these, from Ilha do Coco River, is said to represent the crescent moon. Although made in the same way as axes used for work, it was more probably used as a status symbol, mounted in a decorated haft and carried by a man of importance.

Other Views: Amazonians also used stone spear heads for hunting game, like this one from the Lower Amazon.

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