Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Plains Anthropologist
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292790834
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Pages: 351
  • Sales rank: 354,545
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John C. Whittaker is an assistant professor of anthropology at Grinnell College.
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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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

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