Flint and steel on the frontier Of west central Illinois: a common necessity with an ephemeral archaeological signature

Robert N. Hickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The creation of sparks by sharply striking lint upon steel was the method used to both discharge firearms and kindle ire during the early historic Pioneer and Frontier periods in Illinois. The tools involved in both activities were commonplace and would have been used on an almost daily basis, but the physical evidence for them is sparse in the archaeological record. Flintlock firearms, ire steels, and the gunflints used with both are the focus of this study. Examination of wear patterns on gunflints in the small assemblage presented demonstrates common use with ire steels or strike-a-lights. Such edge damage is commonly overlooked, suggesting that the recovery of gunflints alone does not necessarily indicate the presence or use of firearms on a given site. In addition, the almost complete lack of recognized ire steels among regional archaeological collections warrants a closer look at the scrap or unidentified metal recovered from these sites.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83--98
JournalIllinois Archaeology: Journal of the Illinois Archaeology Survey
Volume22
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • ISAS

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