Debitage may look like a word from the worlds of finance or fashion, but it actually comes from the world of archeology. Debitage refers to the waste products of making stone tools, everything from large flakes to dust. It is easy to understand why archeologists would be interested in studying the tools themselves, but there is lots of information to be gleaned from debitage also.
I recently read Flintknapping: Making & Understanding Stone Tools (1994) by John C. Whittaker and was interested to learn that modern flintknappers use details gleaned from the tools and debitage to help them with the re-creation of ancient tools. Some pretty sophisticated techniques were developed to create ancient stone tools and subtle differences in technique can help archeologists draw conclusions about the people who made the tools and place them in context of human history.
"So, do you blow yourself out?" If that sounds like an extremely personalÂ questionÂ or a strange entry in a That’s What He Said/That’s What She Said contest, then you don’t speak Minnesotan. Most discussions of speaking Minnesotan seem to be based on a series of Ole and Lena jokes. I guess that’s fine if you are of Scandinavian ancestry, but plenty of Minnesotans have ancestorsÂ from elsewhereÂ and a discussion of speaking Minnesotan should be based on the common experience of living in the state. There has been plenty of snow to move this winter. If someone asks if you blow yourself out, they are asking if you use your own snowblower to clear your driveway, sidewalk, etc.
My snowblower has a wooden handle (scoop or scraper). I have plenty of experience moving stuff much heavier than snow with a shovel and sometimes the low technology approach is the best. One of the disappointing aspects of living in Minnesota is watching local television news and seeing people trying to move snow using some useless combination scoop/scraper purchased for $8 at theÂ grocery store. That’s fine if you live in some part of the country that seldom gets any snow, but we have to do better in Minnesota. If the snow is deep, you need a scoop. If there is a thin layer of snow, you need a scraper. Get it right and use the right tool for theÂ job.