Flint Knapping -how to be a flint knapper

By woodlandstv

Slow connection? Watch in lower quality

http://www.woodlands.co.uk Flint Knapping. How to be a flint knapper. What is flint knapping. Allan Course demonstrates how a neolithic arrowhead was made. This is the art of flint knapping and the tools he uses come from the antlers of a red deer. The piece of flint is hit by direct percussion - in other words Allan hits the antler bone on top of the flint to get a flake of flint from the side to produce the arrowhead. Flint knapping takes a lot of practice but once you are skilled at it you can get repeatable good results.
The flake of flint is then shaped to produce in this case a leaf shaped arrowhead. This style of arrowhead was in use in Britain between 4000BC to 1500 BC.
The tools for this part are also very simple - a piece of leather to protect the hand, and another small piece of antler bone. By putting the piece of antler on the edge of the flint and pushing down tiny pieces of flint are chippped off. The tip of the arrowhead has to be very sharp to penetrate flesh effectively. Having worked on the tip , the sides are then trimmed to be sharp and reasonably straight.

The process takes about 3 minutes and tells us something about our ancestors in prehistory. We can be pretty sure they had specialist flint knappers, so an expert could turn out about 20 arrowheads in an hour . Although the process was quick it required a high degree of skill to be so productive which is why they specialised. The rest of the arrow is the other way around. It doesn't take much skill to take a piece of hazel wood, take the bark off, smooth it and add feathers to it, but it does take a lot of time. So archaeologists will look at these crafts in two ways. The flint arrowhead is high skill, low labour, whereas the reat of the arrow is relatively low skill, and high labour. In Britain in say 3000BC there would have been no need for everybody to become an expert flint knapper because the amount of time they would have to spend on it to become good, compared to the time that they actually needed to use that skill just doesn't make it an efficient process. So we're certain flint knappers were specialists. We're also pretty sure that one flint knapper on a part time basis, because he had his own farm and livestock to look after, could have serviced a community of two hundred people. so flint knappers were specialists.

Comments are closed for this post.


Making what up? That I'm Native? WOW thats a real hard thing to believe lol. That I actually hunt, I guess thats a lie too! So hotshot, whos this "Worlds best flintknapper" you speak of? Does he teach you to bring a water filter in the woods on your little camping expeditions too? It takes more than one little trip on a "exerimental archaeology course" to know how to knapp. So go chew on some acontium, and wipe your ass with giant hog weed!


October 14, 2012

er…actually I've been knapping since i was 14 (self-taught), but the experimental archaeology course was the first time i'd ever met a professional. And we didn't have any technology actually, we built our own shelters, butchered our own meat, did fishing with techniques used in the bronze age, knapped flint, made bows and spears, oh and we made the pots in which we had to cook. I never said he was the 'worlds best flintknapper', I said he was one of the best. His name is Carl Lee.

Alex Bliss

October 14, 2012

Im 13 years old just learning the ways of flintknapping i dont have many tools sept the basics where can i find flint forlittle to no cost can i find it in nature and is there any good tricks to make good arrowheads i have deer antler becuase I come from a hunting family Any tips or tricks for a begginer


October 18, 2012

This is Thrand!!! Excellent Video!


November 15, 2012

If you're so experienced, why are you watching "how to be a flint knapper"


January 23, 2013

That's a thick-looking pressure flaker!

Primitive Pyromaniac

July 2, 2013

Fantastic! I love his necklace too!

Lukas Blank

July 16, 2013

I find the chainsaw noise in the background to totally take me out of the "primitive" mood.


October 26, 2013

Splattercat83 is spot on. This video is horribly inaccurate. Good arrows are one of the most difficult things at make (correct spine, well fletched etc…) it's very unlikely that there was a "specialized" knapper for a community of 200, that's just complete rubbish. His pressure flaking was awful, Infact exactly what NOT to do. Bad video!!!

Dean Vik

March 23, 2015

I always thought it was flint mapping. thanks for the info.

Skeeky Online

August 19, 2015


Managing Your Woodland for Wildlife

A new book on encouraging biodiversity in your woodland. Available free here »