Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools

Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools


By (author) John C. Whittaker

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  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Format: Paperback | 351 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 231mm x 25mm | 590g
  • Publication date: 1 June 1994
  • Publication City/Country: Austin, TX
  • ISBN 10: 029279083X
  • ISBN 13: 9780292790834
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: 12 photographs, 226 line drawings, 2 charts
  • Sales rank: 139,975

Product description

Flintknapping is an ancient craft enjoying a resurgence of interest among both amateur and professional students of prehistoric cultures. In this new guide, John C. Whittaker offers the most detailed handbook on flintknapping currently available and the only one written from the archaeological perspective of interpreting stone tools as well as making them. "Flintknapping" contains detailed, practical information on making stone tools. Whittaker starts at the beginner level and progresses to discussion of a wide range of techniques. He includes information on necessary tools and materials, as well as step-by-step instructions for making several basic stone tool types. Numerous diagrams allow the reader to visualize the flintknapping process, and drawings of many stone tools illustrate the discussions and serve as models for beginning knappers. Written for a wide amateur and professional audience, "Flintknapping" will be essential for practicing knappers as well as for teachers of the history of technology, experimental archaeology, and stone tool analysis. John C. Whittaker is an assistant professor of anthropology at Grinnell College.

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Review quote

"...very attractive to readers interested in ancient crafts, survival skills, or the history of technology... far superior to anything currently available." James C. Woods, director, The Herrett Museum, College of Southern Idaho "A mid-range user's guide to flintknapping is long overdue. There have been some admirable attempts to produce such a volume, but these have been targeted at specific, fairly narrow audiences. Not so with Flintknapping... [Whittaker's] clear aim is to reach professional archaeologists as well as hobbyists. I believe he achieves this goal with incredible skill and humor... I highly recommend this book to everyone interested in flintknapping." Plains Anthropologist "This great new publication is the new 'bible' on the subject of knapping." ATLATL "This is the best, most thorough summary available on flaked stone technology. The book skillfully blends instruction on how to make stone tools with information on how top interpret flaked stone artifacts." Northern Arizona Archaeology Society Newsletter "Whittaker presents this information at a level that will be readable by non-anthropologists as well as specialists in the field." James C. Woods, director, The Herrett Museum, College of Southern Idaho

Back cover copy

Flintknapping, the making of stone tools, is an ancient craft enjoying a resurgence of interest among both amateur and professional students of prehistoric cultures. This guide contains detailed, practical information on making stone tools.

Table of contents

1. Introduction Using This Book; Learning to Knap 2. Flintknapping: Basic Principles Flintknapping; Conchoidal Fracture; Properties of Material; Flakes and Cores 3. A Brief History of Flintknapping Prehistory of Stone Tools; Recent "Stone-Age" People; Modern Knapping; Further Readings; Other Resources: Finding Other Knappers 4. Raw Materials Stone Quality; Stone Materials; Heat-Treating; Collecting Material: Ethical and Practical Considerations 5. Safety Proper Technique; Eyes; Hands; Other Body Parts; Lungs; Waste Disposal; Benefits 6. Hard-Hammer Percussion Material and Equipment; Percussion-Flaking Principles: An Experiment; Percussion Flaking; Platforms; The Face of the Core; Terminations; Curvature; Starting a Core; Summary: Nine Essentials; Examples 7. Pressure Flaking Tools : Raw Material; First Principles; Working Position; Beginning; Platform Preparation; Thinning; Notching; Other Pressure-Flaking Techniques; Summary: Six Essentials; Application: Small Triangular Points from the Southwest; Pressure-Flaking Problems; Patterned Pressure Flaking 8. Soft-Hammer Percussion and Bifaces Definitions; Tools; Beginning; Soft-Hammer Principles and Results; Biface Thinning Flakes; Fracture Theories; The Blow Platforms; Biface Stages; Knapping Strategy and Other Considerations; Example: A Basic Biface; Biface Problems: Prehistoric Mistakes; Summary 9. Blades and Fluting Blades; Platforms; Holding; Punches; The Blow; Fluting; Example: Fluted Point 10. Using Stone Tools Stone vs. Steel; Edges and Cutting; Making a Projectile Foreshaft; Going On 11. Archaeological Analysis of Stone Tools Typology; Stone Tool Types and Change through Time; What People Did with Stones; Sources of Variation: Why Stone Tools Are Not All Alike; Analyzing Stone Tool Materials; Technology and What It Tells Us; Figuring Out Function; Questions of Style; Conclusions Appendix: Resources for Knappers; References; Index