Flint Knapping: Recognizing the Difference Between Artifacts and Rocks by kayscbilir

On Wednesday July 30th The Heritage crew took a small lesson on flint knapping with Rod Johnson. Rod has been flint knapping for about 30 years and he pursued this skill because it related to his work with archeology.
After a small power point about the history and different styles of flint knapping we were given some hands on experience on how you flint knapp. Rod Johnson Teaching Heritage Crew
Rod Johnson Teaching Heritage CrewCourtesy SMM

Rod also showed us the marks that are present in flint knapping that differs from regular rocks. Being able to distinguish these marks is a good skill to have when figuring out if an item is a worked artifact or just a random rock. One of the marks is called the bulb of percussion. The bulb of percussion is the part of the rock that swells into a bulb after you hit it. Following the bulb of percussion are ripples in the rock. It looks like you dropped something into a river and seeing its ripples but instead of dropping you strike the platform and instead of river it’s a rock and instead of the ripples fading it stays frozen into the rock.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Laurie's picture
Laurie says:

Did the Heritage Crew get to try flint knapping? How will you use this new knowledge? What surprised you during this lesson?

posted on Mon, 08/05/2013 - 9:26am
kayscbilir's picture
kayscbilir says:

Yes, we did get to try flint knapping. The rocks Heritage crew used were various types of chert. Rod also showed us obsidian but we were not allowed to touch that due to the fact that the edge can get extremely sharp when you flint knapp it. For me personally, I will apply what I learned here to tell whether a rock I find is an artifact or just a random rock. I also want to continue flint knapping as a hobby. What surprised me during the lesson was the amount of time spent to make a good arrow point. Rod gave us a rule of thumb that you need to spend an hour for every inch you had to work with the rock. Sometimes though you don't care about how the finished product will look and you just want something functional. Rod made a functional arrow point during our lesson, but even that took him around 20 minutes to complete. It looked like an arrow point but at the same time it didn't look as desirable as the other arrow points that Rod had made prior to giving us this lesson.

posted on Tue, 08/06/2013 - 7:17pm

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