A short while ago Dr. Francis Smiley from Northern Arizona University suggested making some new casts of the collections from the Clovis type-site. We were able to meet in Albuquerque and borrow some lab space from generous colleagues at the NMMNH.
I chose about 18 artifacts generally representing our materials including points, knives, scrapers, gravers, and a fine-pointed piercer for the initial trial run. Along with this, I intended to bring the Dickenson Cache but lack of organization (and coffee) caused me to forget the cache when leaving the collections facility. Anyway, we still had some good stuff to work with and it was a pleasure to sit back and watch someone else labor away.
After photographing each artifact, a temporary number was assigned to each specimen and mold box. The mold boxes are custom fit to each artifact in order to save on casting materials.
The artifacts are then placed in each box, suspended away from the edges with foam and pins.
Measuring and mixing.
Next, the two-part compound is measured out on the balance, mixed, and the timer set.
Round one begins with the mold material poured up to about the halfway point on the artifact. Then we wait.
Round two removes the stabilizing foam at the top and the boxes are topped off. Again we wait.
The boxes are removed and molds are labeled. A razor knife opens the molds to reveal the original artifact. Each is inspected for imperfections or air bubbles.
Voila! A mold is created to share these fine artifacts with the world without fear of damaging the originals. Thanks to Dr. “Kim” Smiley for starting us off on this new endeavor. We hope to see you again soon for the next round.