Flint

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Little is known about our earliest history. Without written sources we souly depend on soil finds from the field of archeology. Because most other materials are not preserved that long in the soil, most of these finds are stone objects. Many of these stone object are made of flint.
Flint is a hard stone (7 on the scale of Mohs) that is found in lumps or plates in limestone. When flint is struck with a hard blow, shardes will break of. The edges of these shared can be only molecules thick and razorsharp. This makes flint a graet metarial to make knives or arrowheads. In Dutch the name for this stone is Vuursteen (firestone) which refers to the flints property to create sparkes when struck with iron or pyrites. The stone blade on the picture is made of flint from the Dutch province Limburg.


valkenburgvuursteenLimburg

In Limburg prehistoric flintmines have been discovered. Tools made of this Limburg flint are found through out the Netherlands. In northern parts of the Netherland the icelayers from the last iceages had cruched the flint and left it unsuited for larger tools. For these larger tools, the Limburger flint was used. This flint has a very distinctive gray colour. Between the towns Rijckholt and Sint Geertruid in the netherlands a flintmine was found where flint was mined between 3950 B.C. and 2650 B.C..


falster_eiland_denemarkenDanmark

This much darker cloloured flint is found on Falsterisle in Denmark. Throughout all of North-West Europe object have been found made from this Danish flint. Obviously there was some serious trading going on.


deense-bijl.Helgoland

This red flint is also found in Denmark, this typical colour is found only in Helgoland. This picture shows a half-finished axe-head. It was found in the Netherlands as part of a larger flint depot. All objects found with this axe-head were also made of Helgolandflint. It is on display in the Drents Museum in Assen.


grand_pressigny_frankrijkGrand Pressigny

In the French Grand Pressigny a honeycoloured flint is found. Flint was not only transported and traded from the North to the South but also the other way around.


grand_pressigny_dolkeextFrom far away

French flint is also found in the Netherlands. This dagger for example was found in the Dutch village of Eext but was made from Grand Pressignyflint.


roze_bergerac_frankrijk1Bergerac

The flint found in Bergerac has much more lighter colours including beautiful pinks hues.


limburg_belgieCloser

These little axeheads were made from flint that came from Limburg or Northern Belgium. The flintmines of Spiennes were long considered to be the largest and oldest complex of flintmines in Europe, about 6000 years old. Recently in the Chech republic flintmines were found that were moch older, 9400 years old.


gezien_wilhelminaoordDifferent objects

Not only did early man make daggers and axe-heads from flint but a large veriaty of object, all with ther own specific use. In Wilhelminaoord (The Netherlands) I saw this summary of flint objects from different prehistoric periods.


anderenFist hatchets

The first people to live in the Netherlands were the Neanderthalmen They made fist hatchets from flint like this one, found in Anderen is a beautiful example. like the name suggests, you are suppose to hold it in your vist and use it as a knife.


microlieten_middensteentijdMicrolites

These small pieces of flint are called microlites. They were made in the mesolithicum, the middle stone-age, about 8000 years ago.


spitsen_schrabbers_hamburgcTips and scrapers

As the centuries past, people learned more and more about working flint and the shape of objects slowly begins to change. The shape of an flintobject tells the archeologist during wich timeperiode the object was made. These were made by people from the Hamburg Culture (13.500-11.100 BC).


pijlpuntenklokbekerArrowheads

These arrowheads were made by people of the late Beaker Culture (ca. 2800 – 1900 BC) and are in our eyes more recognizable as arrowheads.


pijlmetteerLiving history

Besides the soil finds and reconstrucions based on them, we also depend on the field of experimental archeology to give us a better idea of what live was like in these prehistoric times. Many experiment have braoden our insight in flintworking. There is a small number of people in the Netherlands who work with flint and make beautiful replical’s Some of them give dominstrations and classes in flint napping as it is called.


net_geslagen_klingDemonstration

During such a demonstration (by Ton van Grunsven) in the Drents Museum these pictures were made. Ton is using his hand to indicate where he expects a blade to break of the larger flint..


net_geslagen_kling1Blade

By using a rock beat he stikes the larger flint. The blade comes of the flintcore just as he predicted.

Whant to know more?
Video

Flintnapper Ton working at the Buitencentrum Wilhelminaoord 2008.

We are not going to give a class in flint napping. We don’t have sufficient knowledge and others have already done a better job at this then we would.
There are loads of films on you tube where people demonstrate various aspects of flint napping. Underneath there is a number of links that includes 1 such film. If you search for more films on you tube (search for ‘flint napping’) you will find them..

Follow the bord on Flint of DenBlauwen on Pinterest.

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