Flint Knapping

Flint Knapping

For the last two million years people have been creating tools from rock. From the simplest hand choppers, to the most complex spear points and daggers, the art of flint knapping grew into a deep and complex skill creating the world’s oldest functioning art. The more we learn the more we have come to see how truly refined ancient knappers skills were. Angles being off by a degree or two can mean failure and that shows and understanding far beyond the popular conception of our ancestors. In knapping a point people were planning hundreds if not thousands of strikes, in careful succession, to create and re create specified weapons for hunting the some of the largest land mammals the earth has known.
The stones are gathered from around the country, dug out of the earth by myself and fellow flint knappers. All of these stones, such as flint, obsidian, chert, and agate, are rich in a microcrystalline form of the mineral silica, making them both hard and very sharp. After removing the raw rock from the dirt, much of it is then cooked in a fire, and then reduced in size with strikes from a percussion tool such as and antler billet or hammer stone. Once the rock is reduced to the rough dimensions and shape it is then pressure flaked with an antler, bone, or copper tipped tool. Each flake scar on the piece represents one strike or one flake taken off the main body of the point.

Flint knapping has served to create all manner of tools such as stone drill bits, arrow heads, spear points, knives, axes, chisels, digging tools, and all manner of weapons. Working with stone tools has created within me a strong link to the past as the line of knappers before me stretches back for millennium. My work with stone has also enriched my bond with the Earth whose bone make my tools.

Please do not mistake my work for ancient artifacts. All points have been made by Brad Salon in 2006-2012.