Thursday, October 25, 2007

Flinty Goodness

Well, all this talk about primitive skills has got me thinking about stone tools once again. It is once again a question of supply of the stone - there is meant to be a source close by but I need to get there and back on public transport making it more difficult. I'm thinking of raiding a car park I walk past regularly to get some good cobbles!
I don't see myself making anything fancy - no arrow heads or hand axes. From what I can tell there are 2 options - going very basic or very small.
The basic approach is going for the oldest technologies. One of these is the Oldowan Stone tool Industry. In general this consists of pebbles with sharp edges broken onto them. A wide variety of tools for chopping and cutting that even a chimp can supposedly be trained to produce!
Bi-polar is also meant to be a simple technique especially for splitting things to get onto later knapping. It is meant to be useful to make some cutting edges - perhaps more for soft materials than wood.
The last option is the most efficient in terms of stone but by far the most difficult. It is the technique of using Microliths to make tools with a composite blade. It was the technique of the mesolithic - the apogee of hunter gatherer societies.
I'll let you know how the stone search goes, wish me luck!


Torjus Gaaren said...

First of all, have you looked outside you doorstep? Many people miss knappable rocks resting straight outside their door. Any smooth looking, not too course rock is usually knappable.

You don't need to limit yourself to very simple knapping, but learning the very basics first is a very good idea. I wouldn't say that microliths are so easy to make though. It requires some precision to do it repeatedly without ruining the core.

And before you get any flint, why not use glass? My first proper arrowhead was out of the bottom of a wine bottle. Since it's very easy to work with, it's excellent begginer's material.

sam_acw said...

I can see microliths being a bit tougher to make - something to aim for.
There isn't much in the way of knappable rock here - Radom is mostly very sandy soils with little in the way of rock anywhere. I've given knapping a try before - little more than bashing a rock and seeing what happened! I've read a bit more now so I've got a few more ideas.