This chert ‘juan’ knife is from the Selwyn Ranges in North Queensland. Juan knives are macroblades with backing on one edge. They date to the Late Holocene.
The juan knife in this model is single-backed along most of one margin and double-backed near the tip.
See the annotations for technological details about this stone tool.
The artefact is part of the Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology teaching collection, University of New England.
Juan (pronounced ‘joo-in’) knives were made and used primarily in Queensland. They were made on macroblades or large blade-like flakes with one margin retouched by steep unifacial or bi-directional backing. The bi-directional (or ‘double’) backing was done using anvil support. The opposite edge (or ‘chord’) was left unmodified, and was presumably the main working part of the tool.
Juan knives were made into the historic period. Ethnographic specimens were wrapped around the platform end with possum skin, secured with hair string, to form a handle. On another historic example, spinifex resin was applied first and the possum fur was pressed onto it. An illustration of a juan knife was published by John Evans in 1872 in his influential early book about stone tools. Juan knives were an export product from the Bletchington Park stone quarry near Charters Towers, Queensland, and another quarry on South Molle Island, in the Whitsunday Island chain. The juan knife in this model is relatively small, about 8 cm long. A juan knife measuring 20 cm long is known, but most are around 10-12 cm long.