The Stone Age receives its name from the materials the people of that time period used for tools. Stone was harder than wood and easier to obtain than bone or metal. Certain types of stone, like flint and slate, even shattered easily into very sharp pieces. For these reasons, Stone Age dwellers needed to use specific methods to create tools and weapons. You can recreate these tools today as a wilderness exercise or as a follow-up activity to a history lesson.
Choose a piece of flint stone for your weapon or tool. Choose a piece about 3 inches long for a spear or large knife. For an arrow, saw or digging point, choose a stone about 1 inch long.
Hold your flint piece in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Hold a smooth river rock in the other. Bring the river rock down at a 45-degree angle against the flint, chipping away a small piece. Chip away pieces to create a pointed, sharp edged stone.
Pull all of the twigs and leaves from a sturdy branch. For a spear or large knife, choose a branch about 1 inch in diameter. One-half inch in diameter works well for arrows, saws, digging points and smaller knives.
Draw the sharp edge of your knapped stone across on end of the branch, creating a small slit. Continue sawing firmly until the branch splits a little. Green branches split very easily.
Grip each side of the split with your fingers and pull. Create a split about 1.5 inches deep for a large knife, spear, arrow or digging point. For a smaller knife or saw, pull the split down to 3 inches.
Slip your point into the split. In a shallow split, turn the point so it points straight up. In a deeper split, turn the point so it lies perpendicular to the branch.
Wrap a green vine around the split and the base of the knapped stone, tightening the split around the stone so it doesn’t move. Feed the vine back through one of the wraps to make it secure.
- ['Flint stone', 'Round river stone', 'Sturdy branch', 'Green vines']
Tug hard on each seated stone after twining the vines. If the stone wiggles, even slightly, rewrap the vines so the stone doesn't move at all. This prevents the stones from flying out of the tools.
Wear heavy leather gloves when flint knapping and working with the sharp pieces. Wear eye protection to keep the flint pieces out of them. Never throw or toss any of your tools or weapons at people, animals or breakable items. Use all of your tools and weapons with care. If the stone blades begin to loosen, stop using the tool and reset it immediately.
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