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Miwok Material Culture: Indian Life of the Yosemite Region (1933) by S. A. Barrett and E. W. Gifford


PROBLEMATICAL STONE OBJECTS

Three of the archaeological objects called “charmstones” and some examples of the obsidian “Stockton curves” were shown to Central Miwok. The “Stockton curves” were declared to be imitation bear claws (tisus uzumatiń, C) worn on the left hand by dancers of the uzumati or grizzly bear dance. Four of these curves were attached to sticks and these in turn lashed to the four fingers.

The informants said that the charmstones (lepipa, C) were made by the supernatural being, Coyote. One informant declared that a long, slender, double tapered charmstone (kayana, C) was a fire drill to be used in a buckeye “hearth.” A very globose charmstone (lakuna, C) she said was used to rub deer skins. A charmstone (hikani, C) with a perforation at one end she declared was used in spinning. We suspect that these attributed uses were only guesses on the part of the informant.

The Field Museum has an obsidian blade labeled a charmstone (70279). It was worn pendent on the chest by a neck loop.



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