Pulping Planes

The pulping plane is a crude artifact that is occasionally found in Oklahoma; however, it is rarely reported or is not identified correctly. The artifact is more characteristic of the Southwest and western sections of the United States and sections of Mexico. I t is well represented in the Desert cultures of California and the Cochise culture of Arizona, both of which represent the Archaic time period. Pulping planes are typically heavy and rather massive artifacts, usually cone shaped or hemispherical in form with a flat base. Most of them are roughly made from a cobble in which the cobble cortex formed the base of the pulping plane. The trimming to shape the plane usually extends all around the edges of the implement although many variations can be seen in a large sample of specimens. Two Oklahoma examples are illustrated in Figure 8.

The pulping plane is sometimes termed a domed scraper, a core, a reject, or some other type of tool.


The tool was used on a flattened surface, held in the hand and pushed back and forth with a planing motion. The artifact displays wear evidence on the flat base of the plane and sometimes on the steep cutting edge, which was occasionally trimmed or resharpened.

Although this tool could probably be used as a plane to thin or remove rough spots on hides or skins, indications from outside of Oklahoma suggest that it was used for crushing vegetal materials to obtain plant fibers for cord, rope, or weaving. It may have been used in some phase of food preparation, or for other purposes, but the pulping plane represents a useful and important tool that is frequently not identified.

The specimens found in Oklahoma occur in the central and western sections of the state where they appear to be associated with the Archaic time period.


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