Course Duration: 5 Weekends
Course Timings: 09:30 Saturday - 15:00 Sunday
Course Size: 10 Maximum
Age Range: 18+
For over 3.3 million years, people have shaped stone to complete tasks that have aided them on the long road of evolution. From the first simple tools made by Australopithecines to scavenge meat and break bones for marrow, to the finely pressure flaked barbed & tanged arrowheads made when the first metals arrived on Britain’s shores a mere 4000 years ago. The journey of stone tools and flintknapping is a vast one that ultimately made us who we are today.
This course will immerse you fully into the craft of flint knapping, to such a level you can come away with the confidence in your ability to apply those skills again and again, which can only be achieved by continual practice and guidance with a recognised flintknapper.
You will come away at the end of this 5 weekend duration course empowered to produce a huge selection of stone works of art, with the assured certainty they can be applied effectively to the tasks you made them for. The aim of this course is that the fundamentals of flintknapping will be instinctive which will allow you to produce more challenging flintwork in your own time.
On this first weekend, we will introduce you to basic principles of flint knapping. First we will look at some of the tools used in flintknapping during prehistory, and where they can be obtained today. We will start with the very basics of flintknapping – core and flake technology. This will start with selecting the right shaped block of flint and understanding how flakes detach. After practicing removing flakes and improving strike accuracy, we will move onto producing flake tools such as scrapers, saws, simple knives & piercers. The aim of this first weekend is that you will be able to produce useful flakes from a core that can be turned into tools independently.
Making hand axes
During weekend 2, we will be learning the skill of creating biface tools to create a variety of handaxe butchery tools. To contextualise what a handaxe is, we will look at a selection of original examples. The knapping will start with a refresher from the previous weekend before using that foundation to look at using platform angles to change the types of flakes that can be removed. This will begin the process of learning how to make thinner tools. A new tool will be added to the knapping toolkit in the form of the antler hammer. We will explore how to use one and how to get clean thinning flakes. The aim of weekend 2 is that students will be able to take a raw nodule and turn it into a handaxe.
On weekend three the art of pressure flaking will be the focus. This skill was used to produce arrowheads and sharpen tools using antler tines or copper tipped flakers in the early Bronze Age. We will start by looking at original arrowheads to understand the timeline they fit into. The group will then look at the technique that is required to generate enough force to push flakes across the surface of a flake. The aim of weekend 3 is that students will have a good grasp of the technique and will be well on the way to detaching longer flakers and producing refined arrowheads.