Corner-Tanged Knife

Corner-tanged knife from western Oklahoma

Corner-Tanged Knives

The corner tanged knife is a specialized form of flint knife that is characteristic of Texas. Examples are found occasionally in Oklahoma and may appear in almost any portion of the state. The name, corner tanged knife, is derived from the fact that the notches and stem are located at the corner or side of the specimen, rather than at the base as in a hafted knife. The form is typically asymmetrical and there is considerable variation in outline form specimen to specimen. The greatest number of examples falls between 50 and 120 mm in maximum length, although larger specimens are known. In general, the quality of workmanship is very good and of high quality although occasionally cruder specimens are found. The cutting edge opposite the notches frequently displays indications of resharpening and use wear although this is not always limited to this section of the knife.

At the present time it is not clear as to how this type of

 

knife was mounted or what special purpose it served. It is usually believed to have had a wooden or bone handle attached to the notched area, which resulted in an angular or L-shaped tool. While it would serve as a cutting tool, similar to more common knives, the unusual form suggests that it was for some specialized function that remains unknown.

The Oklahoma specimens that have been found occur in different contexts: examples have been recovered from the Archaic, Antelope Creek aspect, and Fourche Maline phase. Four Oklahoma examples are illustrated in Figure 4.

It should be noted that the corner tanged knife is commonly faked. This is usually accomplished by the addition of notches to a triangular or appropriately shaped biface of Indian manufacture. Completely modern-made specimens are common, however, because of their popularity with relic collectors.

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