Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lithic Technology

Natural stone by Michael Miller
 Or Flintknapping as it is commonly called is an old technology that anyone can learn.  It is a low cost hobby, you will need a few tools, but if you can't spend much money at the start you can use modern tools that you have laying around now.

Since you will literally be working stone, which if not "dirt" cheap is still inexpensive, the consumable part of the hobby will be almost free.

In addition, if your serious about it, you can sell some of your work once you have mastered the basics.  Though many do not realize it, you can work glass.  Obsidian, a traditional material for flintknapping, is a volcanic glass.

Glass does have some downsides vs some other materials specially some types of flint and chert.  But it is easy to obtain glass that makes truly beautiful points or blades.

You can use beer, wine, or soft drink bottles as an easy to find most likely free source of material that comes in colors not typically found in natural stone.

Artistic Glass point by Michael Miller

Or if your willing to spend a little money for aesthetic or artistic joy you can consider Artistic Glass, photo above is finished point made from Artistic Glass by Michael Miller.  See this thread on the Paleoplanet forum.  I find these modern materials are often truly beautiful.

Even people not familiar with forming stone tools can easily see the beauty of these objects.  I also find a lot of natural stone points pleasing to the eye as well.  Agate makes for jewelry quality points in my opinion.

So if your interested in learning how ancient people made tools.  If your looking for a rewarding hobby, or perhaps you just dream of being stranded like Robinson Crusoe, take a look at Flintknapping. 

Paleoplanet is a good place to start if you want to learn more, they also cover a lot of other primitive skills.  If you want to buy some artistic or functional work by modern masters check out ,I am waiting for my first order of a few points to arrive from that site.

I plan to do a future post on flintknapping with a lot more detail as I learn more.  As mentioned above I have ordered a few points myself, I plan to acquire at least a small collection.  I also want to test points and blades in the field to learn how they compare to the more modern tools I am used to.

Special thanks to the founder of, Michael Miller, he provided the pictures for this post.  In addition to answering all of the questions I had about flintknapping.  Michael Miller's Gallery of items for sale, link to his Lithic Analysis company.

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