ABOUT NATIVE WAY

Native Way is an association of craftspersons dedicated to the principle that "primitive" does not mean "crude" when it comes to the ancient traditions. People have been smart and proficient for a very long time.

A dusty job
What we do...

We specialize in the finished ancient weaponry of prehistoric and early historic times and the technologies it took to make it. Our products include Native American style bows and arrows, lances, stone axes and stone and metal bladed knives, fishlures and miscellany reminiscent of America's past. We also produce a line of bronze replicas from ancient China, Europe and the Middle East.

That portion of ancient weapons that typically stands the ravages of time - the stone, bone or metal point or blade - is the focal point of our work. We specialize in mounted and loose points and blades for the collector, decorator and hobbyist.

Unlike most weapon replicators, we take great pains on the surface layer of our work and most frequently age and patinate our products to look exactly like the originals. It is this patination that distinguishes our products from the vast majority of commercially available replicas.

Our pieces are designed to be fantasy items. One can hold a Native Way replica in hand and marvel at the vision of ancient life it calls up.

How we do it...

First, we start with materials as authentic as is practical. Special attention is paid to line and form to make the item a graceful rendering of the particular tool or weapon. Application of sinews, pigments and engraving is done in such a way as to accentuate the uniqueness of the medium without being crude or obtrusive. When construction is finished the piece is lightly abused with chemicals or specialized abrasion. The final layers are then applied using many of the same chemicals nature would use in the process of aging.

Supplies, Seminars

Full time production of these items means that we must stockpile the raw materials required, and this has enabled us to offer quality supplies to the hobbyist, educator and replicator. The items we sell as raw materials are the same ones we use to make our line of gallery and collector pieces.

In addition to our other offerings, we sponsor seminars in the ancient technologies of flintknapping and primitive weaponry through qualifying institutions and offer books and tapes on the ancient skills. E mail us for our current seminar schedule.

CUSTOM MOLDWORK

Although we specialize in ancient weaponry, we do occasionally restore and replicate artifact, architectural and specialty pieces. Poly and silicon rubber molds can safely capture even the tiniest details of originals which can then be cast in plaster, plastic or cement or artificial stone.


ARTIFACTS, AUTHENTICITY, ETHICS....

Bloodlines...

We do not claim to be the representatives of any particular ethnic group or members of any particular tribal association. We make products of styles found in the Americas, in Europe, Asia and Eurasia. Our craftsmen have family members or histories that include European, Native American and Asian bloodlines, but our genes are so mixed up that you would be silly to purchase our products on racial grounds.

Most of our products are of styles so basic and ancient that no one could claim them as their own designs. Our products are not sold as copies of anything, even though they are far more authentically excellent than most replica pieces. They are decorator and collector items that appear to be old.

But, since much of our work is carefully made to look authentically ancient, there are some who take offense at the ease with which these items could be offered as real artifacts. No one should lie, but since some people do, it is important to know something about the field of play.

Who really cares??

There are two groups of people who tend to be the most at risk and most concerned about commercially available artifacts and replicas.

The group most at risk is the community of collectors of actual artifacts, some of whom spend large sums on scraps of history and understandingly wish to protect and increase their monetary investment. The other group who addresses the subject of artifacts in commerce is the archaeological and official community. The best perspective on the entire subject of commerce in artifacts can likely be had by understanding what an archaeologist knows about items once they enter the stream of commerce.

To an archaeologist, an artifact without provenience, that is, a verifiable source and context, is just a trinket, and once money is involved, nothing is verifiable. It may be ancient, or it may be new. It may be from an early phase on an ancient site or it may have been dropped by a traveler last week, last month or last century. No one really knows but the finder, and depending on your location, a few dollars can incite some people to say anything they think a buyer would like to hear.

Therefore, without provenience, an artifact cannot be proven to be important in relation to any particular site or archaeological project. In fact, it can be almost impossible to prove anything about such an artifact. Your word or your word about your grandfather's claims are only a story without some hard documentation. Even a photograph of the item in the ground is easy to fake.

But an item without provenience can still be interesting, worthy of some study, and eagerly sought by looters, casual diggers, wealthy collectors and the occasional government agency.

Who owns artifacts??

Looters and casual diggers generally think they have the right to destroy archaeological sites to obtain these items, buying collectors tend to think they have the right to own these items based on their monetary status, and governments tend to think they always owned these items and still do. Archaeologists generally attempt to discourage any commerce in artifacts because they understand that those who participate in the trade encourage the destruction of archaeological sites.

From our perspective, the archaeologist understands the situation best, and the governments probably own most of the items that they choose to say they own. The collector is probably a nice guy who just wishes to profit from fun acquisitions, even though they are very often from questionable sources.

Unfortunately, the market in middle ranged antiquities is rank with fakes whose value does not justify exhaustive tests to prove authenticity, but which can be bought and sold for a profit . It is very important for the prospective investor to realize that a colorful story is the easiest part of a fake to manufacture, as it requires no special skills. This has probably been the case since the invention of the spoken word, and it will probably continue to be the case even after capital punishment is imposed for the sale of artifacts.

The bottom line is, " let the buyer beware ". If you think an item is aesthetically pleasing and worth the price, you can feel safe about a purchase. There are no better gauges of value.

The good side of fakes in the marketplace...

It is very important to understand that it is largely the presence of fakes in the market that makes artifact values as low as they are. Without the lingering question of authenticity, artifacts would be as eagerly sought after as rare coins and values would be sky high, encouraging the plundering of sites that archaeologists rightly fear. It is bad enough already.

Trade in the trinkets of history and prehistory is thriving as it satisfies a basic human desire for something interesting and unique. It is certainly no less legitimate than the sale of tobacco, fattening junk foods, or airbrushed photos of nude beauties, and in some circles it is far more respectable than these higher-paying accepted vices.

At Native Way, we don't take sides in the fakes vs artifacts controversy. What we can promise is a good value for your dollar in fine replicas, collectibles and decorator items. We would actually like to think of ourselves as agents in the travel industry...........time travel.


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