This chert macroblade knife is from Central Australia. The macroblade was made in the historical period and a handle made from the resin of spinifex grass was moulded around the macroblade’s proximal end.
The chert macroblade in this model is similar in colour and texture to the stone found on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory. The blade was struck from the core behind a long, straight ridge on the core face, which forms the knife’s central ridge. The skilled stoneworker was able to made the flake terminate in a point without subsequent retouch to achieve this shape, although minor trimming was done on the edges near the handle. Macroblade knives were used by men in ritualised fighting to settle disputes; combatants aimed to scar their opponent on the legs or back. They were also used in mundane tasks requiring a sharp tool. The knife was often kept in a bark sheath. The resin handle on this specimen was painted with red ochre pigment. The precise age of this tool is unknown, but it was likely made in the early or middle 1900s.
The macroblade is curated by the UNE Museum of Antiquities.
See the annotations for technological details about this stone tool.