What is Flintknapping ?
FlintKnapping is the manufacture of stone tools by carefully applied percussion and pressure. Flintknapping is the oldest art form. Flintknapping was done by all of our ancestors no matter where they came from. Stone tools are the only evidence that some ancient civilizations ever existed. Not all stone is knappable , only fine grained stone high in silica or natural volcanic glasses are knappable. The stone has to have a cryptocrystaline structure to be able to fracture in a predictable way. When a cryptocrystaline material is impacted , for instance by a hammerstone or billet , a shockwave travels through the stone. If impacted at the right angle close to the surface the stone will shear along this course creating a concoidal fracture. If the surface is hit at a 90 deg. angle the shockwave will go through the material from the point of impact in the formation of a cone. This is called the Herzian cone. Think about a piece of glass being hit by a pellet shot by a pellet gun. A cone shaped piece of glass will detach on the opposite side of the impact. When Flintknapping you want to cut this cone of force in half so you hit the stone on the edge instead of the center. This produces a flake detaching at 130 degrees from the point of impact. When flintknapping you should have every strike carefully thought out as if playing a game of chess. If not you will quickly make nothing but a pile of gravel.
In the future I plan on adding more information on tools and technique as well as pictures.