Description and Definition of Flint. What is
flint? Flint is a hard kind of stone, a large
somewhat impure variety of quartz, usually found
in gray, brown, reddish or nearly black colors
and often has a glassy or waxy appearance. Flint
was used for the manufacture of Stone Age flint
tools as it splits into thin, sharp splinters
called flakes when struck by another hard object
such as a hammerstone.
Flint implements and tools were used by Native
American Indians before the use of metals to
make tools and weapons such as axes, arrows,
spears, knives, tomahawks, etc. All of these
objects were commonly made of flint, but other
hard stones such as chert, jasper, chalcedony,
granite, basalt and sandstone was also used.
Flint or Chert?
words Flintstone, Firestone, Hornstone, and
Silex are other names for flint and chert.
Sometimes "chert" is used as the more general
term, with flint being the darker variant. The
original rock or piece of flint is referred to
as the core.
Flint is easy to find as it is often covered by
a thin white layer and, in contrast to the other
small rocks and pebbles, it has an irregular
shape. The surface of flint is also smooth and
not grainy as most rocks. Flint is found along
rocky riverbeds, on beaches and in chalk, a soft
limestone. Flint is also found as fillings in
cracks in other types of rock.
Making Stone Tools from Flint - The Flint
Knapper and Flint Knapping
Stone Tools were made from either ground
stone or chipped stone. A person who creates
tools out of flint is known as a flint knapper.
A flint knapper makes stone tools using flint
including arrowheads, projectile points for
spears, hand axes etc. The process is called
Flint Knapping. Flint knapping involves a
reduction process of the original stone of
flint. Flakes of stone are broken off the of the
original piece of flint.
Collection of Stone and Flint Tools
How to make Stone Tools from Flint
make a projectile point, like an arrowhead or
spear point, the piece of flint is directly
struck with a hammerstone to remove large sharp
flakes and break it into usable pieces of stone.
A hammerstone is the archaeological name used
for an object used as a prehistoric hammer. By
banging the piece of flint large, thin, sharp
flakes of stone are produced - basically the
original piece of flint is reduced in size
making a thinner piece of flint in the required
thickness. The next step is called
pressure flaking. Pressure flaking is achieved
by placing a pointed tool, such as an antler
horn or piece of bone on the edge of the stone,
and applying an inward pressure to the tool to
remove a small, thin flake from the stone. The
objective of pressure flaking is to shape and
refine the projectile point.