You handmade me {happy}

The greatest d.i.y. project is living happily.

The Art of Flint Knapping

…”Don’t forget this was exactly what made the human evolution possible”…”A small piece of random broken stone enabled them to use the pointed edge like a cutter”. – The evolution man, or How I ate my father, by Roy Lewis.

The history of art is an integral part of the history of mankind

This could be the first form of art, ever: Flint knapping. It started by the prehistoric man as the technique of making tools. This kind of tools with sharp edges, such as arrowheads, knives, spear heads and more. It actually started because of the human needs, for hunters in order to survive. But who said that this ability of knapping tools ended by the end of prehistoric times? Today, many people still keep practicing this skill as a hobby or as a way of archaeological research method by experimental archaeologists.

Even these tools, the simplest ones the man ever constructed, and all the utensils that manufacturers ever made, contain a visible inherent tendency towards aesthetic standards. It’s the human tendency which imposes to nature a new order in things; and through this the man can assort himself as a being with superior qualities. The production of an artifact requires both skills in manual operation and technical knowledge, of course. In the first human communities, almost every man or woman was a sort of amateur artist. All these can indicate only one thing, that the history of art is an integral part of the history of mankind.

The first identification of lithic tools as human manufactures was done in the 16th century for the first time. The technology of knapped stones proves the development and human evolution and the way that innovations emerge. Lithic tools show the social integration in the natural environment.

In order to answer these questions that emerge it is imperative the contribution of Science, specifically Archaeometry. Science can offer methods that can carry out the study and identification of the raw materials used for tools construction and the correlation with each tool type. The best raw materials to use for flint knapping are chert (or flint, jasper, chalcedony, etc), obsidian and other similar types of stone.

Another perspective of flint knapping (or ‘jewellery knapping’!)

I won’t get so into this with my present post. I did that a few months ago, during my studies actually! I’ve been so excited to have my science field (Geosciences) engaged with that special form of prehistoric art such as flint knapping. Here, I’m taking this special form of art even further. Since flint knapping is a hundred per cent handmade art, there can be any result after knapping, as long as it applies to the macroscopic features and the properties of the materials used.

I have used before sources given by nature, such as rock fragments, crystals, shells, pebbles and more, in order to construct jewelleries and other crafts. But the most suitable raw material for my case is always chert. Besides, this fits my scientific status so far!  So, with the contribution of my dear friend and colleague Christos, who provided me with that kind of black chert who picked himself, and gave it to me already knapped and drilled, I made my own ‘Master of Science earrings’! If this isn’t an inspiring gift, then what?! And with some more debris of the same black chert I had a few more handmade goodies.

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

Image (c) matinamk,

When the flint source is also a ‘geotourism source’!

This particular material that I was given, with the sharp edges and those surfaces which are formed after conchoidal breakage, originates from the geological occurrences of Voidomatis Valley.  And some facts about the provenance: Voidomatis is characterized as one of the cleanest rivers of Europe. It runs through one of the most beautiful mountainous locations in Greece. There, someone can also find the National Park of Vikos-Aoos (Northern Pindos, in Ioannina, Greece). A new, great and promising project about the promotion of the very significant geotouristic area of Vikos Gorge is the ‘Geopoint of View’, based not only on the information (historical, geological-geographic) which provides, but also based in natural landscape photography.

On the Palaiolithic Boila site and the primary and secondary chert sources of Voidomatis valley – Image (c) by Geopoint of View.

Thank you Christos for your inspiring gift and many thanks to your ‘Geopoint of View’ team, for providing me the info about the black chert origin and for motivating me to visit this place (and go get myself a lot of chert, too!)


2 comments on “The Art of Flint Knapping

  1. petroform
    January 4, 2016

    I love this post! It is a great exploration through the history and your emphasis that art is integral to mankind’s history. love it 🙂 love the painted arrow too
    It’s great when science and art collide

  2. Emmanuelle
    September 17, 2015

    OMG I love your jewels ! I am a big fan of everything stones, especially in its raw, natural form 🙂

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