Hi I’m James, I am here at the Neolithic
houses at Stonehenge and I’m about to attempt to make a Neolithic axe head. I’ve got this large piece of flint here.
So the first point I’m going to strike is here. The flint that I’m using is around
about 80 to 90 million years old. You get flint from the whole area around here under
Stonehenge and you get it across north Norfolk in a band all the way through to Dorset. Now it looks very different, it’s much lighter,
there’s a lot less of that waste material in the skin of the flint. It’s starting
to take on a bit of a lens profile to it with this consistent cutting margin all the way
around and these are those edges that I’m going to use to start to take even more flakes
off and help me refine this pre-formed blank into a longer, thinner axe head. I’m just working on refining the butt or
back of the axe and this is where it will go into the wooden handle. So I need to make
it quite even so it has a good fit into the wooden haft. In some cases, I can predict the rough shape
and size of the flake before I strike it. So as you’ll see I’m working on one side
and the flakes are coming off the bottom so you’re almost working blind. You have to
go with that confidence that the material will stick to its mechanical principles and
will flake off in a certain way. The flint is made up of silica that would
have been secreted by tiny organisms that would have knocked around along the sea floor.
That would have been compressed into this rock that we have today. So I think this is
about there now, this is ready to be ground and finished into that really nice polished
surface that you often see on Neolithic axes in museums. And this is an example of a finished polished
flint axe head. This will have taken about 60 hours’ worth of work to get it to this
kind of stage. It really is a beautiful piece of work as well as being a really good functional
tool for cutting down trees and woodworking. It will fit into a handle or haft, a bit like
this. And there it is – a Neolithic axe.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. For more information please go the the #Ingenious page (link at the top) or to my own page at www.ancientcraft.co.uk

  2. this is so fascinating, but how in the world is that axe practical? the head would be getting stuck in things and popping out of the handle constantly I imagine.

  3. Flint itself is still a bit of a enigma, growing up in Norfolk i once assumed it was common enough to be found anywhere. Often have i wondered how far the flint bearing chalk reaches out into Doggerland. Perhaps when i gaze out at the wash im looking toward what was once a paradise for flint knapping.

  4. i have to make one for a college course.. Where I live flint is not a common thing… so i ended up just throwing hammer stone into the ground and hope i would get something lol

  5. It seems you’ve omitted the proper ending. Why not show us that the tool is even capable of doing any work? It looks absolutely
    (to me) INcapable of cutting anything—-certainly not felling a tree!
    No offense intended. This after all, an educational site. I know nothing of such things so would love to be enlightened as to that ax’s abilities.

  6. How come it would take them 60 hours to make an axe if it only took him such a short amount of time using the same materials??

  7. thats crazy you took a ahuge rock and made that kind of seems like a waste but all those shards that fell off would almost all be used for arrow heads spear heads knives etc maybe even little axe heads if you got a nice beefier piece

  8. good show ! how about slower a longer piece on a spear point ,ad hoc ,a walking stick i can chuck at a deer ,how would a cave man upgrade his stick,?

  9. I personally actuall suggest using a big, square rock as an anvil, you can do the blunt and crude flintknapping against the anvil that is much easier than hammer stones, as well as giving you a sort of table on which you can leverage hits a lot better than on your leg

  10. You couldn’t make that from a smaller rock? The south Asian casters don’t need big rocks to make stone axes.

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