In the Hall of the Octopus 2

In the Hall of the Octopus: 123456789

A longhouse all on its own, not part of a village, situated on a cliff high above the shore? With only one old man inside? Strange things indeed.

I don’t expect anyone to know this, and it’s not really that important to the story, but chikamin is iron or metal. In this case, I assume, raw, unsmelted iron, possibly meteoric. A rare substance on the Northwest Coast, but not unknown.

And yeah he’s not actually that guy’s grandfather.


Discussion (4)¬

  1. CasualNotice says:

    Ooh, ooh! We’ve had this discussion before…There are almost no iron artifacts from pre-Columbian America. Copper and tin were in fine supply and they have a lower melting point than iron, so bronze (which is harder than iron) was the tool metal of choice. The quality of large bone (from whaling and bears) and stone (from obsidian and Arkansas chert) tools and points also made the working of metals unnecessary in many areas.

    Such intricately carved totems of iron would be insanely difficult for any American culture to carve (without a coal- or charcoal-fired blast furnace, which didn’t reach the America’s from either side until the 16th cnetury, iron had to be cold-worked), and would mark an incredibly advanced tribe (nation) that had unheard-of amounts of free time to make and remake the carving tools necessary (and do the carving).

    • Jonathon says:

      Good summary.

      People on the Northwest Coast didn’t have bronze before Europeans (or at least their trade routes) arrived. The trick to smelting bronze never made it farther north than Mexico. They did have plenty of copper, but didn’t use it much for weaponry, although the longhouse on this page DOES have decorative copper shields up on the wall. Northwest Coast people also developed coal mining of a sort, funnily enough, but that’s another story.

      The Inuit were actually the North Americans most likely to use iron. Iron meteors are easier (i.e. possible) to spot on the tundra, and can be cold-worked into tools. Any iron the Northwest Coast people had most likely came to them via trade routes from the North, and yes, the idea that anyone would have enough of the stuff or enough time and patience to fashion it into a room full of statues is pretty outlandish.

  2. Fiona Z. says:

    Ah, this is the sort of social awkwardness that can only end well for all concerned. 😀

    I’m just sort of all-over delighted at the subtle tentacle shapes in ‘grandfathers’ hair, as well as in the hem of his robe… and wall carvings… and…

    This is neat, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it will go.

Reply to Jonathon¬