Thursday, December 30, 2010


history of modern flitknapping

Introduction: It was a cold September morning, the dark of night was
still well upon us, my ghetto feet were burning from the cold within
my boots, a flash of light and thunderous roar, and my fathers voice,
not a voice that was heard unless good cause was about. Good cause
was about, a large buck lie there in the Monache sand. There in the
damp sand I witnessed something that has transpired a million times
here, the sounding of men butchering game. The crushing sound and
smell of sage, the smell of fresh blood and the broken sound of
morning. " See son this is the way your granddad showed me", a shiny
stone flake graced the enormous palm. This was the start of my
flintknapping obsession. This probably to gain respect from my
father, a hunter and warrior, W.W.II Vet descendant from an Apache
war chief. I knapped flint ever since, joined the Army, went to
college, hunted, fished had sons of my own. I published hundreds of
articles, became a Karate champion (1982), and a bluegrass banjo
State runner up (1974). I never did gain his respect, but there, just
before his final journey he told me he was proud of me. If he had
said that earlier I would never have done all these empty
accomplishments: The World Flintknapping Society, Martial Arts
Tournament Society, Fig-Ficus Society, Flintknapping Digest (1984) ,
Arrowhead Types of California (1985), C.S.U.N Knap-in (1983),
California Flintknapping Rendezvous (1984-1989) . It was my drive for
acceptance from my father that made me do it, something , like most
men, I never got. But like Hendrix said "I still got my Guitar" , In
my case, my knapping kit. Here is a look at knapping from my world,
In recent years the replication of prehistoric stone tools and
projectile points has become very popular. The ability to fashion
chipped stone items is both a rewarding hobby, a life saving skill
and a popular art form. Flintknapping ( the art, or craft, that
involves the chipping or flaking of flint-like stones into implements
or projectile points) has become a very important aspect of the study
of stone artifacts found by archaeologists. As an art form the image
of flakes on stone has a strange attraction, a fascination perhaps,
held over from our stone age ancestors. According to a recent article
in American Antiquity (Whitaker and Safford 1999); there are 5,000
active knappers averaging 25 points a month, this means some 1.5
million points are being made every year.
A man named Man, a man named Ishi. Flintknapping is a part of the
world lived in by a very few, but at one time it was part of
everyone's world to some degree. The man named Ishi was at the end of
that time and the start of this one. It was early in the morning,
just the break of dawn, August 9, 1911, some miles south of Red
Bluff, California, an exhausted and fearful man was found in the
stable of a slaughter house. It was a middle aged American Indian man
whom came in from the woods, he was taken off to the jail at
Oroville. Sheriff J.B. W Webbe, who was the one who figured out Mr.
Ishi was a "wild" Indian and locked him up in a cell for the insane,
for Ishi's protection more than anything. Curiosity brought both
locals and outsiders from miles away to see was described as a "wild
man". Local Indians and "half breeds" came in and attempted to
communicate with Ishi, but to no avail. He was the last human on
earth that spoke his language. He spoke no English, he was starved
and his black hair was burned off short as he was in morning. The man
Ishi, the last of the Yahi. The Yahi, a small branch of the Yana,
were situated in northern California. Ishi lived in the Mill Creek in
the foothills of Mount Lassen, east of the Sacramento River and south
of the Pit River.
Fortunately for us Ishi was a master flintknapper and he still
retained all the knowledge and skill from living a life as his
tribe's flintknapping expert. The points Ishi knapped are so
delicate, thin and well flaked, they far surpass nearly all points
found in archaeological contexts and collections from prehistory.
Ishi has a point style named after him, as well as a specific type of
flintknapping tool. Ishi had lived his life in the wilderness, his
tribe had been wiped out by murderous miners and hunters, Ishi lived
alone - isolated. The story of Ishi's capture became headline news.
One of the readers happened to be Professors Kroeber and Waterman,
anthropologists at the University of California. The two men took an
instant interest, as they had gone on an expedition looking for
Ishi's people 3 years earlier as some surveyors had happened upon
their camp and reported their discovery. It was this discovery that
brought the demise of Ishi's people as the surveyors had stolen the
Indians' winter supplies as trophies and the Indians did not make it
though the winter. Years before the surveyor incodent, Indian killers
had attacked the tribe of peaceful Indians slaughtering men women and
children, one killer switched to his pistol as his riffle
was "tearing up the babies too much." You can see why Ishi feared
white people, he thought he would surely be executed.
Since Ishi's language was extinct, there was no communication with
him. It was very discouraging for Ishi and the white men. Finally
Waterman broke through with a few Yana words he had found. Ishi went
and lived with Kroeber and Watererman at the museum, Ishi would give
flintknapping demonstrations every Sunday to crowds of interested
onlookers, he also sold his handiwork. On his time off from
demonstrations and ethnographic data collecting, Ishi went to the
near by hospital and made friends with Dr. Saxton T. Pope, whom was
amazed at Ishi's skill as a woodsman and archer. Pope and Ishi went
on many trips into the wilderness and Ishi shared his bow making and
flintknapping secrets with his new friend. Ishi died at noon, March
25th, 1916. He told his friend Pope at the end "you stay, I go". It
was Yahi tradition that the body be buried whole so it could make the
trip to the land of the dead, but before Kroeber could do anything
about it Ishi's body was autopsied and cremated and his brain cut out
and sent to the Smithsonian. California Indians have been trying to
gain Ishi's remains for burial but have been largely unsuccessful as
no Yahi decedents survive. Just within the last several months,
however, a turn of events have taken place and it appears Ishi's
remains have been returned to his beloved Deer Creek for a final
Walking With Ishi, by Joyce Ann Harwood: I sit down under the cool
shade of pine, the mountain air clean and cleansing. My thoughts go
back to a time and place where men and nature were one. To be a man
that is one with nature is to be fulfilled, that was the plan of the
great spirit. The man that has come to epitomize this time and life
way is a man given the name Ishi, which itself means man. To me Ishi
was stands for what is good in men, he was as much a part of the
wilderness as the wilderness itself.
Most of you have heard the story of Ishi a thousand times, the tear
filled tale of the last natural American. Ishi wandered out of the
wilderness in 1911, starving. confused and mourning the loss of his
family and race. The last Yahi-Yana of Dear Creek, California.
Rescued and given sanctuary in the Museum at University at California
Berkley where he lived doing odd jobs and demonstrations until his
death by TB in 1916. Ishi was said to be a reserved and intelligent
gentleman, and an excellent flintknapper. Ishi's friend Dr. Saxton
Pope wrote this of Ishi when he died; "He closes a chapter in
history. He looked upon us as sophisticated children, smart, but not
wise....He knew nature which is always true. His were the ualities of
character that last forever. He was kind; he had courage and self-
restraint, and though all had been taken from him, there was not
bitterness in his heart. His soul was that of a child, his mind that
of a philosopher."
Of late, Ishi has been in the news quite a bit, Researcher Steve
Shakely, of Kroeber Hall at Berkley, states that Ishi may not have
been a Yana after all but, based on physical and anatomical
measurements of Ishi himself and the point type he made, he may have
been a Wintu, a neighboring tribe. Furthermore in the news, the
California Indians have been trying to get the existing remains of
Ishi back from the Smithsonian for burial. Originally Ishi wanted to
be buried in the traditional Yahi-Yana fashion, but the powers that
be at the time had dismembered and burned his body. Before they
burned his body they cut out his brain and sent it to the
Smithsonian. In recent news releases it appears that Ishi's remains
may be returned to his Dear Creek home for burial. The delay in
returning the remains had to do with the fact the Ishi had no living
relatives, recent DNA testing has resolved the issue. In addition,
another bit of Ishi news came about when researcher, Dennis
Torresdale discovered a small cash of authentic Ishi points in Ishi's
waste flake collection in an old coffee can in the basement of the
museum at Berkley. Dennis was extremely noble and turned the points
in to the museum, according to Ishi collector Charlie Shewey, the
last authentic Ishi point sold at auction for a cool $27,000.00.
I was first introduced to Ishi via my husband, Ray Harwood, in the
1970s, Ray held Ishi on a similar level as a deity. This is also
actually the story of how Ishi walked with Ray, and his friends,
through his journey of life, through the triumph and the tragedy,
Ishi's legacy was always there to help them get through. . Even when
Ray was a young child he would go off in the woods bow hunting with
his half Native American father. Ray's father spent a lot of time in
the woods and was able to show Ray and his brothers crafts and
knowledge his father had shown him. Among the things learned on the
trips to the woods was the art of flintknapping.
When my husband stumbled upon his first copy of Theodore Kroeber's
Ishi in Two Worlds , he felt an instant kinship, this was the first
book he ever completed cover to cover.
Ray met Ishi researcher Dennis Torresdale in the summmer of 1999 at
an Errett Callahan lithics workshop in Portland. Dennis gave Ray the
incentive to rekindle his own research on Ishi crafts. Dennis feels,
in light of the Shackley data, that Ishi's points may not have been
Wintu or Yana but, it is in the realm of possibility, that Saxton
Pope had given Ishi the specifications that he considered the perfect
arrowhead. The interesting thing about the Ishi point, more than any
other point type in archaeology, is that we have the tool kit, the
waste flakes, I witness statements and photos of the knapper.
In High School Ray's flintknapping sessions increased to the point
that his eye hand coordination improved drastically, his intense
visual concentration while working the flint material helped his
dyslexic tendency and he went from a fail student to the Dean's List
in a few short years and was even able to achieve black belt in
Ray had flintknapped in an artistic vacuum until he was in his early
20s. This is when Ray met fellow Ishi fans, Joe Dabil, Barney
DeSimone, Steve Carter and Alton Safford. Barney had a small business
called Yana Enterprises where he marketed his Ishi posters and items
and had become an expert Ishi style knapper, to the point that he had
killed a wild boar on Catalina Island armed with a sinew backed bow
and Ishi tipped arrow of glass of his own making. Atlton was an avid
traditional bow hunter and knapper, he had even hunted big game in
Africa a few times with stone points. Years later Alton and Ray
started the yearly California Flintknapping Rendezvous. Joe Dabil had
become a California legend by the late 1970s and had the nick name
of "Indian Joe", this name given to him by the prominent
archaeologists of the day. Joe could make fire in of minutes with a
natural yucca file board and mule fat stick. Joe was also a master of
the Ishi style flintknapping methodology. Joe's Ishi points of both
glass and obsidian were each an impressive work of art. Ray and Joe
became friends and Ray began to study Joe's flintknapping methods.
Joe Dabil had learned the arts of wilderness survival hands on. Joe
was an Olympic class long distance runner in the 1960s, and when a
Doctor informed him he had a life threatening decease he fled into
the wilderness. There in the woods, alone, Joe eked out a survival on
natural foods. Eventually Joe relearned the arts of Ishi, sinew back
bow making, arrow-smithing, fire drill technology, cordage making,
brain tanning and of coarse...flintknapping. As miracle have it, Joe
lived out his death sentence and is still practicing wilderness
skills today. Steve Carter was already an established master knapper
when Ray met him in the early 1980s. Steve had been friends with
J.B.Sollberger of Dallas, Texas and with J.B.s inspiration, at the
1978 Little Lake knap-in, Steve developed his own unique knapping
style, one in which he detached the flakes of the top of the preform
as opposed to the bottom that rests on the palm of the hand. Steve
was versatile and also used the Ishi style knapping techniques.
Steve's work even impressed the Grand Masters; Sollberger, Titmus,
Callahan and Crabtree.
Ishi, The Last Yahi , the video was released and this one appears to
have some actual Ishi footage (
Furthermore, at the corner of Oro-Quincy Highway and Oak street in
Oroville stands a small recently made monument made of Dear Creek
cobbles with the sorrowful story of Ishi etched in Bronze.
Ted Orcutt, The Karok Master, King of the Flintknappers. at the he
turn of the last century there were many flintknappers working at
their craft. One of these knappers stands out among the rest as he
carried on a sacred tradition, the white deer knapper. The White Deer
knapper had the honor of knapping the massive obsidian blades for the
world renewal ceremony known as the White Deer Dance. The White Deer
Dance was very a huge undertaking and organizers spent years planning
for one event. The event was not only time and labor intensive but
was also financially very costly. To make things work out, each tribe
took a turn hosting the event that often lasted 3 solid days. The
actual dance involved dancers carrying stuffed albino dear skins on
polls followed by obsidian dancers that carried a set of two- twin,
massive obsidian bi-faced blades tied in the middle with a buck skin
thong. He who knapped the sacred, giant, ceremonial blades for the
Karok, Hupa and Yurok was a man of honor. The man who last held this
honor was known as king of the flintknappers, he was Theodore Orcutt.
Theodore Orcutt was born February 25, 1862 near the Karok Indian
settlement of Weitchpec on the Klamath River. Weitchpec is now at the
upper or north edge of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in
northern California. His mother was a full blooded Karok Indian, born
at the Karok settlement of Orleans, Oleans is only a short distance
from Weitchpec on Hwy 96, his father was a Scotsman. Theodore's
father, Albert Stumes Orcutt had fair skin, blue eyes and light hair
and was about 5.11 inches tall and ran Orcutt Hydraulic on the South
fork of the Salmon River at Methodist creek, Albert came to this area
from Maine where he was carpenter, although he had been a sailor
earlier in life. Later in life Albert had a small farm and Orchard on
the Klamath River.
Theodore's mother, Panamenik -Wapu Orcutt, was closer to 5 foot 6
inches , with jet black hair, brown eyes and dark skin. His mother
had the characteristic traditional female Karok tattoo on her chin, 3
vertical strait lines. At adolescence all traditional Karok girls had
their chin tattooed with three vertical lines, or stripes. Using a
sharp obsidian tool, soot and grease were stitched into the skin, the
same tattoo was on the biceps. The tattooing was for several purposes
all relating to gender and Klan affiliation. She was considered a
good cook and hard worker, she could make baskets, new the ins and
outs of herbalism and acted on occasion as a midwife. She also spoke
both the Hokan language and English. Theodore's mother stayed close
to him all his life and even in old age she made trips to visit with
him. His mother lived to the advance age of 107 years old.
In about 1865 young Theodore was given his Indian name, "Mus-su-peta-
nac" translated to English means "Up-River-Boy", Karok traditional
names were not given for several years after birth so if the child
died at a young age they would not be remembered by name and the
grieving would be less. The infant mortality rate for Karok in the
late 1800s was not good, at the Federal census of 1910 there were
only 775 Karoks living in 200 Karok homes.
As a child, Theodore road his pony to the local one room school house
and was a quite and good student. He was a quit boy and a very good
writer, had excellent penmanship and was well read, he was, however
largely self taught, because of his many other obligations. He helped
around the house and was diligent in his chores. While the country
was celebrating its first centennial, 1876, Ted was 14 years old and
had begun his flintknapping apprenticeship with his Karok uncle "Mus-
sey-pev-ue-fich" , his mother's brother, whom was a master
flintknapper and was considered the village specialist. It was a
great honor for Ted to be chosen to such a prestigious mentor (mentor-
a wise and trusted counselor) and he practiced when ever he could.
The raw material of choice for stone workers in northern California
at the time was obsidian. Obsidian is a volcanic, colored glass,
usually black, which displays curved lustrous surfaces when
fractured. According to Carol Howe (1979) "the amount of control that
a skilled workman can exercise over obsidian is amazing. Teodore
Orcutt, a Karok Indian, one lived at Red Rock near Dorris,
California. He learned the arrowhead maker's art from his father, who
was the village specialist. The giant blade in figure 1, now in the
Nevada Historical Museum at Reno, Nevada, is an example of his work,
though not ancient, it represents the almost lost hertage of an
ancient art. Orcutt told Alfred Collier of Klamath Falls that it took
years of practice for him to became proficient."
While still in his teens he began to master the art of flintknapping.
First he learned the percussion method of knapping (Percussion method-
the act of creating some implements by controlled impact flake
detachment) and after several years he could reduce a fairly large
mass of obsidian into a flat plate like biface (biface-a large spear
head shaped blank with flake scars covering both faces), he was also
becoming more adapt to the pressure flaking techniques with a hand
held antler tine compressor (Pressure flaking- a process of forming
and sharpening stone by removing surplus material with pushing
pressure- in the form of flakes using an antler tine). His
arrowheads, spear points and other flint work became quite nice and
he began to experiment with eccentric forms and often knapped
butterfly, dog, eagles and other zoomorphic (zoomorphic-abstract
animal shaped art) and anthropomorphic (anthropomorphic-abstract
human shaped art) forms out of fine quality, fancy obsidians provided
to him by his uncle. He was also in his teens when he learned the art
of bead weaver, brain tanning of hides and arrowsmithing.
In 1885, Ted was 23 years old and spend nearly all his time after
work flintknapping and crafting traditional Karok items. It was at
this age that one morning Ted's uncle told him to get his bed roll as
he was now ready to participate in the sacred act of collecting
lithic material. This was an honor that Ted had looked forward to for
many years and he was very excited. Ted ran back to tell his mother
but she was already standing outside with Ted's bed role and some
food she had prepared.
Their first few lithic collecting trips were to Glass Mountain, near
Medicine Lake in eastern Siskiyou County, California. Ted was aware
that not only the obsidian collecting was important but the
cerimonialism involved in doing so as well. Obsidian mining was
something that had been done by hundreds of generations of Karok and
it was not to be taken lightly. Before white mining laws came about,
Native Americans relied on the concept of "neutral ground", even
tribes which were bitter enemies could meet at the obsidian quarries
and share knapping and lithic information.
As their buckboard wagon arrived at the obsidian outcrop, Ted jumped
out of his seat down into the dark damp soil, his boots leaving
imprints in the half dried mud, it was early spring and the grass was
vibrant green. Black obsidian chips glistened and sparkled all over
the land scape. When Mus-su-petafich showed young Ted how to mine and
quarry obsidian he first left an offering of tobacco, when he
performed lithic reduction (lithic-greek for stone, term most often
used in science, reduction-the miners often made preformed artifact
blanks to lessen the bulk for transport) Mus-su-petafich drove the
obsidian flakes off the core with a soft hammer stone. Large blocks
of obsidian were quarried by splitting them off giant boulders with
the use of fire. Mus-su-petafich would build a bon fire against the
rock. As each flake came off, no matter what the method of
extraction, he would set it in a pile and categorized them as his
ancestors had and said "this one is for war, this one is for bear,
this one is for deer hunting, this one is for trade, this one is for
sale". The various piles were kept separate until they were knapped
to completion and were all set aside for their original purpose. Mus-
su-petafich told Ted why each flake (or spall) had a special purpose
based on its form, structure, fracture-ability, texture, hardness and
color. There was a different Karok word for each type and variability
in the obsidian. Red obsidian was considered ritually poison and
these were usually saved for war or revenge, at this time in history
many of the customs had changed and Mus-su-petchafich made beautiful
points for sale and trade with varieties of obsidian that were once
reserved for the kill. There were numerous instances when Mus-su-
petchafich had to obtain subsurface, unweathered material, but these
were for the most part small pit mines.
It took Ted many years of mentoring with his uncle before he began to
fully understand the Karok lithic tradition. The two men made
thousands of arrowheads, lithic art and traditional Karok costumes
and marketed them, not only to traditional Indians but also, to a
wealthy eastern clientele. As Ted got older flintknapping became an
obsession, nearly all his extra time was spent either collecting
extravagant lithic material or flintknapping, in bad whether and at
night he would plan his strategy for some lithic challenge he was
working on and his quest for every better lithic material began
taking him farther and farther from home. Oregon's Glass buttes,
Goose Lake, Blue Mt., in Northern California, Battle Mountain
Chalcedony in Nevada Opal, agate and jasper from the coastal areas
and the inland deserts. On several occasions Ted Orcutt made trips to
Wyoming, the Dakotas and many locations in Utah and Idaho where he
would find specific lithic materials for special orders. Herb Wynet
was Orcutt's traveling partner and "sidekick" on many of these trips
and Herb would do all the driving so his friend "Theo" could gaze out
the car window at the country-side. Ted could look at the geology and
topography of an area if he had been there before or not and give a
good prediction, with great accuracy, where the lithic material would
be, he was correct nearly every time. On these trips Orcutt kept a
list of artifact orders on hand, this way he knew what lithic
material to get and what to focus on at his afternoon knapping
sessions on the road. In this manor Ted never fell behind on his
orders while on his flint hunting adventures. In 1902 Ted moved to
Red Rock Valley near Mount Hebron he was now 40 years old and his
percussion biface knapping was becoming better than ever. In the
earlier years Ted and his uncle had made I name for themselves among
the Native Americans in their area by knapping the large White Dear
Dance ceremonial blades for the White Deer Dance Rituals, Ted was now
challenged by these massive blades and he had a compulsive need to go
ever larger and more spectacular using many varieties of flint and
obsidian to make ever more elaborate pieces. By 1905, at age 43
Orcutt was knapping hundreds of obsidian blades of massive size, his
command over the percussion method of knapping was now unrepressed in
the history of the world.
In 1911 Ted was 49 years old when he got the job of postmaster of the
Tecnor post office in Red Rock. It was August of the same year that
Ted sat on the wooden bench outside his house and read about Ishi in
the local newspaper, the whole thing with Ishi took place only a few
miles from Ted's house, curiously, the Hokan language family
encompasses both Yahi (Ishi's language) and Karok (Orcutt's
language). It was a local joke to Ted people would say "hey Theo, did
you hear Mr. Ishi is the last arrow head maker!"
Ted was self-educated, read a good deal and by all accounts wrote a
good hand. The job as postmaster was taxing and left little idle time
to knap stone so in 1926, at the age of 62, he gave up the postmaster
job and began hauling mail from Mt. Hebron, at Technor, in Red Rock
Valley, first with horse and buggy and later in a Model T Ford, which
Ted bought new. During this time Orcutt was knapping more than ever
and was selling items through out the eastern United States, Europe
and Museums through out the world. He had well received exhibitions
at the California State Fair in Sacramento, a permanent display in
the Memorial Flower Shop in Woodland, California and he had shipped
his points to many hundreds of museums and collectors. He had a claim
where he mined obsidian near Wagontire, Eastern Oregon. It was in
this period also that Ted's ceremonial blades went from the 30 inch
long giants to the 48 inch long monsters that made gave him the
title "king of the flintknappers". This same time period Ted took a
half ton block of glass Mountain obsidian and carefully and precisely
knapped a 48 1/2 inch long ceremonial knife, which was 9 inches wide
and only 1-3/4 inch thick. This massive bifaced blade still hold the
world record for size, it rests in the Smithsonian Institute, a
similar one is in the Nevada Historical Museum at Reno, Nevada. In
the Natural History museum in Sacramento there is a massive
collection of large Orcutt blades, 176 in all, they are in an old box
marked "source unknown". The Southwest Museum in Los Angeles has many
Orcutt blades and also some of the White Deer Dance costumes Ted
made. As for the 48 inch blade, one witness to the giant blade
manufacture heard Ted speak really softly while working on the giant
blade, " I get awful nervous when I'm working on this, I'm afraid
I'll break it just before I finish."
It was not entirely unheard of for a collector to find a giant piece
of a broken Orcutt bi-face. In 1983, I worked with Jerry Gates of the
U.S. Forest service in Modoc County, in northern, California. My
duties included surveys near the huge obsidian deposits at Lava Beds
National Park in Lassen, County, California. I observed many chipping
site, several were not ancient. One site had both obsidian flake
scatters in context with old condensed milk cans, log cabin syrup
cans and Prince Albert Tobacco cans. I still recall that the flakes
were large percussion thinning flakes that appeared to be from biface
reduction and were of an opaque green material. I was told by a local
that he thought old sheep herders tried their hand at knapping in the
early 1900s, but I had a different theory, I stood over the site,
camp fire ring in the center can dump off to the side and reduction
type flake refuse and I knew this is where Ted sat, perhaps with his
uncle and reduced his preforms for transport back to the Somesbar
area where Ted Lived at the time. At another such site I observed my
first look at an Orcutt biface, it was just the base, and was a full
5 inches wide and an inch thick. The broken piece was 10 inches long
and it was evident that it was less than half the piece. Jerry Gates,
U.S.F.S. archaeologist in Modoc showed me yet another large fragment
that was covered with lake moss, it was about a foot wide, less than
an inch thick and about a foot and a half long- it was only a small
piece of the mid section. The giant biface fragments were broken
during flintknapping procedures. The giant bifacially flaked blades
broke, most likely, from the effect of end shock, which is a
transverse fracture caused by the obsidian exceeding its' elastic
limits, when the impact is made. Failure of the material to rebound
and recoil before desired fracture occurs, caused the preforms to
snap apart in the center sections. End shock is the reason few
knappers can make large percussion bifaces.
In May, 1946 Ted was 84 years old he moved to the L.D. Parson's
Ranch, Ted still did quite a bit of knapping at the ranch and
performed his duties including maintaining, grooming and shoeing the
horses. Theodore Orcutt passed away later that year ending the rain
of the "king of the flintknappers." Even today at the site of the old
Parson's Ranch obsidian erodes silently from the earth where Ted left
his waste flakes and stash. Unnoticed boulders of the material set as
a silent and forgotten testament to the master Deer Dance Knapper.
I have been asked several times in the last 25 years weather
flintknapping was actually ever a true lost art. Flintknapping is one
of the oldest crafts in the world and it is also one of the most
enduring and actually was never lost. Many knappers, both in the
Brandon gun flint factories and the reservations of the American
Indian, it was never lost, it was interest in it that was lost but
not the craft itself. Even the master Ted Orcutt did not leave this
world without leaving his knowledge and is rumored to have had
several devout students over his live time. One known student of
Orcutt was Fred Herzog . Fred met Ted Orcutt in the late 1920s while
both were working at Lew Parson's ranch and lumber mill in Oal
Valley. According to Fred Herzog (1959) "Teds skill was beyond all
imagination as he made points from 2/16 of an inch up to large spear
points two feet long." Some speculate that Dr. Don Crabtree, whom
knapped in the same style as Orcutt, may have met or at least
observed Orcutt at work. Crabtree was known to have lived and worked
in the northern California area during Orcutt's later years. Crabtree
came to be known as the "Dean of American Flintknapping". Crabtree
himself had hundreds of students and some of them are prominent
knappers and archaeologists today. It is possible that while watching
Crabtree's students we are seeing the Orcutt knapping style as it
once was.
After Theodore Orcutt passed away several have searched for clues to
his legacy. Carol Howe, Eugene Heflin and myself. Eugene wrote a book
called Up River Boy, but after Eugene passed away the book was never
published. I am still seeking information and if you have any -
please let me know. I published an article about Eugene's search for
Ted in Indian artifact Magazine in 2001.
Brandon knappers . The fog was dense that morning, You could smell
the sea, even a good deal inland. An early morning horse and utility
wagon made its way noisily up the cobble filled street, breaking the
silence with the coming of the dawn. The cobbles here are to die for,
cobbles of rich Brandon flint, the envy of the stone age world. The
wagon has made this trel each week for thousands of years, Bringing
the treasured flint from the mines to the ancient cottage industries
of the Brandon flintknappers. In Brandon, England flint mining and
flintknapping were still uninterrupted in the 1920s, a legacy that
has gone uninterupted for thousands of years. First knapping blades
of stone, and then in the more receint past, the gun flint.
The king of the Brandon flintknappers was a Mr. Fred Snar. Brandon is
a small town 80 miles northeast of London, England. The buildings and
structures in Brandon are made of flint and black Brandon flint is
considered the best in the world. Fred Snar, the pride of Brandon,
was able to balance large boulders of flint on his leather padded
knees and effectively decorticate the fine grade black Brandon flint
with his six-pound quartering hammer and procure large blades more
quickly and effectively than is counterparts. As Fred Snar swung the
hammer the black Brandon flint rang like a bell. He was also known to
have produced amazing flint art work, including large hollowed out
flint chains. Some of these items are curated in the British Museum.
According to amateur anthropologist and writer, Ben Ruhe, formally of
the U.S.A, now lives in Suffolk County in the south of England, there
is still one of Fred Snar's Brandon portages living and working there
today. "Picking up a formidably heavy hunk of flint, perhaps sixty
pounds in weight, from a large pile in the corner of his dusty shed,
Fred Avery sits on a stool and hefts his six-pound quartering hammer.
An open door and window supply ventilation. He places a burlap sack
on his lap to catch the waste. He aims to reduce the block to
workable pieces-"quarters" in the Brandon vernacular. Avery works so
fast and rhythmically he is able to manufacture several gunflints in
just one minute or so, and is able to sustain this pace for a
considerable length of time. At the start of the 1950s, Avery and his
father in law, who taught him the trade, worked in the courtyard of
the Flintknappers' Pub in Brandon along with others, under contract
to the publican Herbert Edwards."
After Avery's father-in-law died in 1966, Fred was the last one. At
his best Fred Avery was manufacturing 1,000 gun flints a day. John
Whitaker was in Britain when I was writing this book, John told me
that Fred Avery had died a few years ago, ending the Brandon
tradition. A few archaeologists do a little knapping, no known
commercial knappers in England. One fellow, John Lord makes a living
doing demos and replicas. John went around to schools flintknapping.
According to Bob Patten, John Lord was formaly a Warden of Grimes
Graves, the aboriginal flint queries at Brandon. He went on to do
architectural work with flint.
According to D.C. Waldorf; "Fred Avery was the last surviving
gunflint maker in Brandon, once home to hundreds of his kind. He
knaps part-time as orders drift in from around the world,
supplementing his income as a brick layer. Avery has been shaping
flints now for 43 years and does it with the understated approach
that belies his great skill and the very old techniques he preserves.
As the Japanese, who honor their finest folk craftsmen with official
designation, would phrase it," he's a holder of intangible cultural
properties." England, his home country, is overdue to give him
appropriate recognition, journalistic and other, as a living national
According to Ben Ruhe, in a news release published in Vol. 8, No. 3
of Chips , Fred Avery died April 24, 1996, "The last of the gunflint
knappers in the English town of Brandon, once English headquarters
for the trade, has died. Fred Avery, 63 succumbed to liver cancer
after a very short illness; he had been working at his daytime trade,
bricklaying, only three weeks before his death April 24th. Avery's
illness was not associated by doctors with his four decades of
knapping, but rather with a long time addiction to smoking.
After a Church of England ceremony attended by hundreds of relatives
and friends, he was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter's Church in
the heart of Brandon, resting place of many hundreds of flintknappers
who made the town famous in the 19th century. ( During the Napoleonic
Wars, Brandon had the exclusive contract to supply the British Army
with gunflints for its muzzleloading rifles and at one point was
making several million gunflints a month to supply the demand). A
black powder rifle enthusiast who attended the rite fired a salute to
Avery with his muzzle loader over Avery's coffin, then placed the
once-used flint in the grave."
The Man of the Lake. Like Frank Cushing, Halvor L. Skavlem, was also
one of the first known white flintknappers in America, he belonged to
a pioneer Norwegian family of Southern Wisconsin. At the turn of the
last century Indians and artifacts were not uncommon in Halvor's
neighborhood, in fact artifacts were numerous. Young Halvor had a
very inquisitive mind. He began asking himself how the Indians made
these stone tools and utensils.
It was in the month of September, 1912, When Mr. Halvor L Skavlem was
hunting stone arrow heads and artifacts in the cornfield behind his
summer home at Lake Koshkonong. He had done this many times over the
years, but on this particular occasion he began asking himself that
old question: how were these flint implements made and resharpened.
He located a chert cobble and struck it upon a piece of flint , hence
discovering to himself the percussion method of flake removal.
Halvor L. Skavlem's flint working experiments were published by the
Logan Museum in Beloit, Wisconsin. The ideas were put into a text
format by Halvor's pupil and portage, Alonzo W. Pond. Mr. Skavlem was
still making arrowheads during this period and he was eighty-four
years old.
In June of 1923, an article called "The Arrow Maker" by Charles D.
Stewart was published in the Atlantic Monthly. A flood of protest
letters came in on the article. People who collected artifacts at the
time did not want "the lost art" revived by Skavlem, for obvious
reasons they did not want neofacts mixed in with the ancient
collectibles. Mr. Skavlem visited some of the Chippewa Indians in
Northern Wisconsin. The Chippewa had no flintknapping tradition left,
so he got his gear together and gave a demo and showed them how it
was done.
At first Halvor picked up flint chips left over from Indian flint
reduction sites and tried to chip them with bones. Later he found old
cow bones and sharpened them down to a blunt point, he then got an
old chopping -block from the wood pile and customized a lap top work
bench. He put the bone on the edge of the flint and pressed down and
the flint chipped off nicely. He turned the arrowhead over and did
the same on the other side, giving it a toothed effect. Halvor made
thousands of flint items in his lifetime; turtles, fish hooks, arrow
heads, animals, ax heads, celts, and so on. He also was very much in
deep thought while doing his flaking. Halvor understood the theories
of the conchoidal fracture, Hertzian cone, lithic geology. LEAKY-
AFRICA: For many of my generation, it was the fabulous National
Geographic specials that forged out interest in archaeology and
flintknapping. It was a large gray haired man with a South African
acfcent and a Britsh Leland Land Rover. It was Dr. Luis Leaky. Dr
Leaky was born near Nairobi, Kenya. His parents were missionaries
there in Kenya and young Louis grew up along side children of the
Kkuyu tribe. He learned early the knowledge of primative skills,
including flint working. Dr. Leakey went to cambridge University,
majoring in Anthropology. Leaky landed a job on an international
archaeological mission to Tanzia as soon as he graduated. Luis
Married Mary in 1936. During WWII Leaky was a spy. It was 1949 when
Leaky discovered the first Proconsul skull, a missing link. Dr. Leaky
did many television specials for National Geographic and often
incruded flintknapping and use of the stine tools. Dr. Luis Leaky
died at age 69 of a heart attack.
CRABTREE, the Dean; Modern flintknapping was actually popularized by
Don Crabtree, often referred to as "the Dean of American
flintknapping". He was born June 8, 1912, in Heyburn, Idaho.
According to Harvey L. Hughett of the University of Idaho: Don spent
his early youth in Salmon, Idaho where he first became interested in
Indians and their tools. His mother would have him run errands for
the next-door neighbor and as a reward this woman would give Don an
arrowhead which her husband had gathered. Young Don became fascinated
with these tools and even at this early age began to wonder why and
how they were made. There were, at this time, many Indians in Salmon.
Thanks to Harvey Hughett, at the University of Idaho, whom is now
curator of the Don Crabtree Lithic Collection, we now know much more
about Don Crabtree's childhood. I spoke to Mr. Hughett a few in
October of 1999 (Val Waldorf had no problem either) he gave me
permission to quote his copyright article on Don Crabtree in Chips
Vol. 11, No.3, 1999.: "Young Don became fascinated with these tools
and even at this early age began to wonder why and how they were
made. There were, at this time, many Indians in Salmon. Their custom
was to sit flat on the sidewalk with their legs stretched in front of
them. Don found it great fun to jump over their legs and to talk with
them, for which he was severely reprimanded by his mother.
When Don was six, his Family moved to Twin Falls. This was desert
country and Don spent most of his time hunting for artifacts, Indian
campsites and building his collection of Indian tools. The family's
home was just a stone's through from the Snake River Canyon and Don
spent every possible moment hunting in the canyon, collecting from
campsites and caves and adding to his collection. He also collected
obsidian flakes and began to try to reproduce the artifacts. This
meant more trips to the canyon for knapping material. Soon, young
Crabtree had gathered a fairly large collection of artifacts and his
interest in experimenting with different stones and methods of
manufacture to achieve replication increased. He tried many
approaches to holding and applying force but with little success and
much failure. After interviewing many local Indians, he was
disappointed that he was unable to learn anything of how these
fascinating artifacts were made. Flintknapping was essentially a lost
art even at the time.
Don was constantly in trouble with his father for being away from
home so much, for the many cuts on his hands and the permanent
bloodstains on his clothing. He received many reprimands for coming
home after dark. Even this did not cure him of his quest for
knowledge of the Native Americans and their tools. At one point, his
father became so disgusted with Don spending so much time knapping he
offered to pay him $100.00 if he would promise never to make another
arrowhead. Don wanted a bicycle and a gun so badly that he considered
this offer for some time. However, the love of Indian lore won and he
told his father that he could not give up his attempts to make tools
as the Indians had.
In the late 1930's he was supervisor of the Vertebrate and
Invertebrate Laboratory at the University of California at Berkley,
this is also where Ishi's artifacts are curated. Also, Ted Orcutt
still lived not far to the North. Crabtree also worked in the
Anthropology lab with the well known Anthropologist Alfred Krueber,
whom was Ishi's friend and caretaker at the museum a few short years
before. According to Dr. Errett Callahan (1979), following a
flintworking demonstration at a meeting of the American Association
of Museums in Ohio, in 1941, Crabtree was employed at the Ohio State
Lithic Laboratory with H. Holmes Ellis and Henry Shertrone. He was
also advisor in Lithic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and
the Smithsonian Institution's museum.
During world war II, Crabtree was coordinating Engineer with
Bethlehem Steel in California. Between 1952 and 1962, he was County
Supervisor with the U.S.D.A in Twin Falls, Idaho. In 1962 and 1975,
Crabtree was research associate in lithic technology at the Idaho
State Museum in Pocatello."
Not only was Crabtree a master flintknapper and an inspirational
flintknapper , he was also an expert on the theoretical aspect of
stone tool studies. Crabtree published papers on replicative
flintworking and other aspects of lithic studies in such publications
"American Antiquity" (1939,1968), "Current Anthropology"
(1969), "Science" (1968,1970), "Curator" (1970), "Tebiwa" (1964,
1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973,1974), and "Lithic Technology" (1975).
Crabtree's textbook, "An Introduction to Flintworking", was the main
publication readily available from 1972 on. The Crabtree book,
although 26 years old, is still a classic and is one of the most
referenced books in lithic studies today. The book is easy to read
and is full of excellent drawings and text. The book is available
through the Idaho Museum of Natural History, Idaho State University,
Pocatello, Idaho. They also have republished Crabtree's articles,
papers, and videos, his articles are better than ours decades later.
Crabtree was featured in many archaeological films in his day, many
were shown around the world in class rooms from elementary school to
doctoral classes. These films influence many up and coming
flintknappers. The film "Blades and Pressure Flaking" (1969) won best
anthropology film at the 1970 American Film Festival.
In 1972, the Idaho Museum of Natural History received a grant from
the National Science Foundation for the production of several 16mm
films featuring the legendary flintknapper. Just a few years ago
these films were dubbed onto VHS video tape and made available to the
public through Idaho Museum Publications. Though faded somewhat, this
footage still maintains its detail and shows Don Crabtree at his
best. In the Shadow of Man , Don is shown quarrying obsidian at Glass
Buttes in Oregon. The Flintworker discusses the basics of
flintknapping, stone tools are made using simple percussion
techniques, and the Hertzian cone theory is introduced. Ancient
Projectile Points covers the making of bifacial points. The hunter's
Edge covers prismatic blade making. The Alchemy of Time concerns heat
treating, and the manufacture of Clovis, Folsom and Cumberland
points. In 1978, Crabtree had open heart surgery with stone tools.
The blades Crabtree made were so sharp that Crabtree's doctor agreed
to use them on him after seeing how sharp they were. The first
surgery one of Crabtrees's Ribs and a lung section were removed, an
18 inch cut. Crabtree's stone tools were so sharp that there was
hardly a scar.
Don Crabtree flintknapped all types of artifacts including fluted
Folsom , parallel flaking, chevron flaking, notching, blade making
and even Ted Orcutt style large obsidian biface points. His large
points were very similar to Orcutts , some were so thin that they
looked like dinner plates, his obsidian arrow points were very
similar to those he helped to curate in Berkley made by Ishi.
While working agate Crabtree noticed that his had a satiny texture
and the Indian arrowheads out of the same material were like opal.
After much experimentation he rediscovered heat treating of flint
materials to improve knapping quality.
In the later part of his life Crabtree traveled the world meeting and
flintknapping with each nations leaders in lithic fields of endeavor
and really opened the door for all of us. During this time
flintknapping saw its heyday, "knap-ins", lithic conferences and
publications. Sort of what what is happening now but with the
Don Crabtree, Dean of American flintknappers, died on November 16,
1980 from complications of heart disease, within six months of
Francois Bordes . When Bordes and Crabtree passed away the 1970's
academic flintknapping heyday passed away with Them. THE PALEO
KNAPPERS : The Late Don Crabtree, of southern Idaho, is considered to
be the "Dean of American Flintknapping" not only for his fine
publications, but also for the vast amount of important information
he uncovered in a life devoted to the study of stone tools. Don was
most probably the first flintknapper in thousands of years to flute a
Folsom point, as early as 1941 Crabtree was employed at the Lithic
Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and the prestigious
Smithsonian Institution. He had experimented with fluting in the
1930s but became quite famous for his studies into the Lindenmier
Folsom in 1966 . Don Crabtree passed away on November 16, 1980.
Jeffery Flenniken and Gene Titmus, students of Crabtree carried on
the studies and are still considered to be among the best
flintknappers in the world. In Texas, The late J.B. Sollberger was
considered the master of Folsom and learned on his own to create
masterful fluted points with a methodology involving the use of the
fulcrum and lever . J.B.s replicas were beautifully crafted out of
the finest of Texas flints. Again part of the Sollberger legacy is
the vast amount of published works and theories that he pioneered.
J.B. passed away on May, 7th 1995. In the Southern United States two
knappers of quite diverse back grounds were also working on the
Folsom mystery: D.C. Waldorf of Missouri and Errett Callahan of
Virginia. Waldorf crafted his replicas in a large part to sell in the
commercial market place, and sold them as replicas, but also to
research the Folsom technologies for books he would later write and
market. One of Waldorf's books, The Art of Flintknapping, sold over
40,000 copies. Waldorf is still active in both flintknapping and the
study of fluted point technologies and he and his wife, Val, publish
a magazine called Chips that is devoted to flintknapping. Callahan
also worked and studied in a social vacuum in the 1960s, but he had
the advantage of academia behind him, yet in those days the published
material was both sparse and, to a large degree, incorrect. Callahan
went on to publish perhaps the most important paper written to date
on fluted point studies, The Basics of Biface Knapping in the Eastern
Fluted Point Tradition. In the American Southwest Circa the mid to
late 1960s, the new Folsom age was being revised by two additional
notable experimentalists, Bob Patten, of Lakewood, Colorado and Bruce
Bradley of Tucson, Arizona. Bruce Bradley worked closely with
Crabtree and Sollberger as well as French flintknapper Francois
Bordes. Once Bruce Bradley's knapping skills were well honed he began
working with some of the world's best known Paleo-archaeologists;
George Frison, Vance Haynes, Rob Bonnichson and Dennis Stanford of
the Smithsonian Institute. In 1980 Bruce Bradley was involved with
these scientists in a PBS Odyssey television special called Seeking
The First Americans. In this now classic film Bruce Bradley knapped
two paleo type points. Bradley also participated in "Clovis and
beyond" and continues his involvement in lithic research. Bob Patten
learned the high plains paleo tradition and became a master of
creating Folsom points out of tough unheated lithic materials. Ten
Years after Bruce Bradley appeared on the Odyssey special, Bob Patten
was featured crafting a fluted Clovis point in the PBS television
special- NOVA: Search For the First Americans, and like the Odyssey
special ten years before, the film featured Dennis Stanford and Vance
Haynes. Nearly a decade after the film Bob published a book on his
flintknapping methodologies called Old Stones New Eyes. Bob is often
seen around the country conducting Flintknapping demonstrations at
archaeological meetings and was recently featured at "Clovis and
Beyond" and "The Folsom Workshop" . Most of the knappers today are
not part of the 1960s experimentalism movement, the new field of
thought is as "lithic art" and the points are created not with
aboriginal methods that add to the data base of experimental
archaeology, but with lapidary equipment, they contribute very little
to the study of stone tools or ancient artifact studies. The Folsom
fluted lanceolate point was named by J.D. Figgins in 1934 after
Folsom, New Mexico. According to the American Museum of Natural
History the first Folsom point was discovered near Folsom, New Mexico
on September 1, 1927 on a joint expedition by archaeologists from the
American Museum of Natural History and the Denver Museum of Natural
History. This small fluted dart or spear point stands among the most
important archaeological finds ever made on this continent. This
artifact is now displayed in a cast of the bones of an ancient
extinct bison in which it was embedded, thus re-creating the context
in which it was found by members of that original expedition. Folsom
points tend to date between 10,000 BC to 8,000 BC. Folsom points have
a large geographic range within the Americas. Folsom points are
characterized by their short lanceolate basic form, concave base and
long flute extending on both faces from base, or proximal end, toward
the tip, or distal end, of the point. The purpose of the flute has
long been the subject of great controversy. Some have postulated that
the flute is an artistic element and may represent a flame and others
feel it has a functional purpose and was for blood letting from the
wound of their prey, thus causing the prey to bleed and weaken and
leave a trail for the hunter to fallow. others feel it is simply a
hafting technique where the split shaft nicely fits into the fluted
channel. What-ever the purpose, it seems to have evolved and been
accentuated from the older Clovis points that were also fluted from
the base, or proximal end. According to Michael Waters (1999), from
Texas A&M University, archaeologists: in the early 1950s artifacts,
later to become known as Clovis, were found beneath the Folsom
cultural horizon at Blackwater Draw, near Clovis, New Mexico and were
later carbon dated to nearly 13,359 BP. Clovis appears to have
highbred, or evolved into Folsom and the point made more stream-lined
and the flute improved and accentuated, the technology changing with
hunting technologies that were closely intertwined with the available
According to Paleo specialist, Bob Patten, of Lakewood, Colorado
(1999) when mammoths went extinct, spear points went through a re-
engineering, from the large Clovis to a more delicate form dominated
by the central flute scar. Instead of the mammoth the new quarry was
Bison Antiquus, a larger and more formidable game than the modern
bison.Even with the past few decades of Paleo point replication
studies the true production methodology is not completely understood.
According to Patten "it is likely that it will be some time before we
can say we know with assurance how Folsom points were made". Patten
prefers a method known as the rocker punch method. Patten's response
to the aboriginal flute method is this "My answer is that aboriginal
flute flake scars have distinctive attributes of flatness, rippling,
thickness, and so on. The rocker punch method seems to most closely
match original results" (Patten, 1999). At this time in
archaeological circles the theories on the first peoples of the New
World have been changing, rather than crossing the Bering land bridge
from northeast Asia to Alaska theories, they have come up with
theories of "paleo-notical", a Paleo ocean migration from Europe
along the edge of the polar ice cap into the northern most tip of
North America. Clovis-like Solutrean projectile points found in
Europe help support this hypothesis . If Clovis man indeed came to
the New World by boat, then it is my theory that the fluted point
technology was originally one that came from stone age harpoon tips.
In Alaska there is a fluted point type known as the Dorset point
which is characterized by two precise flutes or harpoon end blades
removed from the tip or distal end of this small flint triangular
harpoon point type. These paleo-eskimo points were part of a
specialized material culture based on northern marine exploitation
(Renouf, 1991) The first big game brought down by fluted points was
possibly not Pleistocene mega-fauna but large sea mammals, and the
altatl may have first been a harpoon launcher and later adapted to
land use as a spear thrower.
The Gray Ghosts of Gustine by Joyce Ann Harwood. It was a warm day in
Gustine, Texas, a small town in Comanche County. It was 1949 but in
Gustine it could have been 1849, a town know for rodeo and cowboys, a
town of only 584 acres and less than a person per acre. It was a
quit, sunny, summer day . A slight breeze had come up as Bryan
Reinhardt, a large, burly German, clean shaven, World War Two Vet
with tattoos on his forearms, was polished up for the day and heading
to town. Taking the trash out of the back porch on the way out, he
tells his wife he'll be back in an hour or so. He checks his receipt
and his wallet as he pulls his keys out of his pocket and climes into
his truck. He pulled up in front of the hardware store in a nearby
town, excited at what he knew would change his life. As he passed
through the front door a tiny bell on the upper frame alerted the
proprietor of his entrance. "I know what yer here fer Bryan, It's out
back" They two men made small town small talk as they shuffled into
to the poorly light musty back room. The proprietor pulled on a tied
together string with frayed ends, a hanging light bulb with no shade
brightened up the room. Recently swept wooded floor, slatted wooden
shelves on either side. There, half cover in the shadow of the
shelving resting on an old oak pallet, was a large cardboard box with
the image of a lapidary saw. Bryan suppressed the excitement, he was
not the kind to express emotion. "Yup, that's the One," said Bryan.
The Clerk asked Bryan what he plans on doing with the saw and Bryan
replies, `cuttin' some stone". The two men load the saw in the back
of the pick up and off he went into the history of modern
flintknapping lore.
Bryan Reinhardt had developed a method of mass producing large flint
spear points, none under nine inches long, (known by collectors as
Gray Ghosts, for the color of the flint he used) with the use of a
rock saw and complex lever flaker (fulcrum and lever). Reinhardt
quarried and processed 100s of tons of gray Edward's Plateau chert.
Armed with a crowbar, shovel and wooden creates Bryan would quarry
material, drive it back to his home in Gustine, slab it and trim it
on his lapidary saw. In the yard of his nicely kept middle class
ranch house Reinhardt had an old fashioned trailer, with a wooden
addition. In this trailer was his lapidary shop, the place where gray
ghost blanks were cut and trimmed. Out behind the house, on the back
1/4 acre were several huge flint piles, a chest high pile of rejected
slab cutoffs, a couple truck loads worth, a supply of raw flint, and
a giant debitage pile of waste flakes, this testified to by Callahan.
Several years later Charlie Shewey flew over that part of Texas in a
plane he was piloting and confirmed the flint piles, they were plenty
large enough to see from the air.
Once he had the slabs cut and trimmed he would heat treat the
material to the point that the flakes would remove with less effort
but not enough to make them too brittle for the next stage of
reduction. For the actual "flintknapping" stages, Bryan removed the
first stage of conchoidal flakes, this was done with an elaborate jig
set up. The jig was an elaborate set of holes and pins that allowed
Bryan to apply fulcrum and lever pressure at any angle and from any
direction to any size or shape piece of flint. The edging was done
with micro-lever and shearing techniques. This gave the early Gray
Ghosts their characteristic steep margin double bevels.
Eventually Bryan had several saws buzzing and once, and piles of
waste flakes accumulated daily, hence the massive debitage dumps. .
His production was so successful he sold his flint work by the gross.
Bryan began making good money, in the 1960s he was getting paid 25
cents an inch. According to Dr. John Whittaker (1999) , archaeologist
and flintknapping historian, " the lore among Texas knappers is that
Reinhardt only sold in orders of 10,000 inches, (to dealers) at a
dollar per inch, and demanded payment in gold coins." Ads could be
seen in the classified sections of lapidary journals, and The
Farmer's Almanac for "ceremonial spear points" and most gift shops
along Route 66 were fat with them. It is estimated that Bryan
Reinhardt produced nearly one hundred thousand Gray Ghosts from 1950
to 1982. There is a Gray Ghost in nearly every collection of lithic
art in the World. Charlie Shewey, world renowned arrowhead collector,
collected dozens of Gray Ghosts, and even befriended Bryan Reinhardt
and purchased his best work. In the Shewey collection is one Gray
Ghost point over 23 inches long.
Bryan Reinhardt had been a loner up through the 1960s, until he met
three other knappers that had sought him out. It was the late 1960s
when Errett Callahan, (a young graduate student from Virginia at the
time) J.B. Sollberger (the father of Texas flintknapping), and Norman
Jefferson (then a student of Callahan) ventured into Gustine to meet
Reinhardt. At first Reinhardt denied being a flintknapper, and told
the three men that he was simple a rock collector. The three wise men
went into Reinhardt's living room and he was quit pleasant. On the
walls in his home Reinhardt had dozens of magazine photos, each with
images of artifacts, the articles claimed the items were authentic,
but Reinhardt's, after finely admitting he was a knapper, insisted he
had made them all. Even though he admitted that he was a knapper he
never divulged his methodologies. Reinhardt had moved, and his old
house was down street and around the block, Callahan and Sollberger,
went and explored Reinhardt's previous dwelling and found massive
amounts of debitage there. Sollberger, having experimented with
fulcrum and lever methods, new immediately upon inspecting the
debitage how the Gray Ghosts had been made, fulcrum and lever. Slab
cut-offs were a dead giveaway as to lap-knapping (Callahan 2000).
Callahan and Sollberger were very interested in Reinhardt's knapping
as they could relate it to possible applications into prehistoric
knapping technologies. Also, Reinhardt took an interest in the
knapping styles of Sollberger and Callahan and after there
acquaintance Reinhardt's knapping products had a more traditional
look. True Gray Ghost collectors can see 3 distinct phases of
Reinhardt's work:
1. His early years are very angular.
2. After meeting Sollberger and Callahan, a more traditional look.
3. After meeting two later knappers, Nelson and Warren, a more
patterned and eccentric
Callahan and Sollberger met with Reinhardt off and on for several
years and kept in touch by mail. Then Reinhardt, perhaps in fear of
being arrested, became reclusive to the point of chasing Sollberger
and Callahan off with a shot gun. The two men waited around and on
Sunday morning Reinhardt went off to church, while he was gone the
two men got a good look around the Reinhardt place, this when the
first site of the "new home" debitage and cut off plies. Callahan was
even able to secure some photos of this (Callahan 2000). On an
earlier visit Callahan was out in the front yard with Reinhardt and
the sheriff pulled up in his jeep, Callahan was sure that this was
the end for the Gray Ghost, when the officer opened the tail gate and
dumped a load of flint in Reinhardt's front yard. "Those German's
stuck together" said Callahan of the occurrence. Callahan and
Sollberger had traveled 142.7 miles from Dallas to Gustine several
times, but this was the last trip. A few years later Callahan
received a Christmas card from Reinhardt stating he had been reborn,
and he was sorry for his behavior, Callahan phoned Reinhardt and told
him he never understood why he did that, Callahan had been
Reinhardt's only advocate. In the mid to late 1970s Bryan befriended
two other "lapidary- flintknappers", Larry Nelson of Ironton,
Missouri and Richard Warren of Llano, Texas. Warren, was inspired by
Reinhardt, and later would produce a great many Gray Ghost type
points himself. Warren's Ghosts were of black novaculite. According
to Charlie Shewey, Warren's father-in-law was a wet stone miner and
was able to provide him with perfect slabs for knapping. Warren
learned the basics of knapping years earlier by Larry Nelson, a world
class traditional knapper whom had a graduate degree in engineering
from the University of Denver. 0rginally Warren would make the blanks
and Nelson would finish them, much like a micro-factory or cottage
industry, similar to what is speculated to have transpired by
prehistoric Danish Dagger knappers. Warren was latter known as the
founder of "teliolithics" or art knapping. Art knapping involves not
only slabbing the flint and heating, as Reinhardt did, but taking the
next step of power diamond grinding the shape and contour of the
point. The only thing left to do is a final series of pattern flakes.
Warren, an ex -Navy man, was going to be a doctor like his brother
but dropped out in his final year to pursue knapping (Shewey 1999).
According to Dr. John Whittaker (1999) Jim Hopper, who was largely
responsible for spreading "lap-knapping" (short for lapidary
knapping) among the early Fort Osage knappers, Hopper was inspired by
Richard Warren. Warren also inspired two traditional Virginian
knappers; Errett Callahan (considered the father of modern stone
knife making) and Scott Silsby whom were responsible for the
popularity of early pattern flaked knifes, they were the first to
perfect the Warren style on hafted blades. Jack Cresson a traditional
knapper from Moorestown, New Jersey credits Silsby for spreading art-
knapping through the eastern United States, and notes that Silsby
refereed to lap-knapping as "cheat and chip". But Callahan's Piltdown
Productions catalog gave pattern flaked knives a world wide exposure.
Callahan went on to show that pattern flaked knives could be
accomplished without modern tools and later began a traditional
knapping movement.
While Silsby and Callahan turned Warren style points into knives, a
southern knapper was fluting the Warren style points. Steve Behrnes,
an acquaintance of J.B. Sollberger, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana had
created a steel jig that could flute the wafer thin Warrens without
breaking them. Steve eaked out a fair living knapping at his old
style Cajun home. Jim Hopper, Steve Behrnes and Richard Warren met at
Warren's place in 1992, within two weeks of the meeting Warren
reportedly shot himself to death, however there were rumors that he
moved to a ranch his wife inherited in Calgary, Canada. A few rumors
of Warren and his wife sightings in Winnipeg have also been noted
(Did they see Elvis there too?).
According to John Whittaker, he met a man named Charles McGee, McGee
had an "arrowhead making jig", McGee told John that before W.W.II
McGee had been friends with another lever jig knapper, it turned out
to be Bryan Rhinehardt. The Jig is quite elaborate and has a hinged
lever and movable holding pins. It is obvious a lot of thinking went
into these machines.
Robert Blue of Studio City, California was inspired by a collection
of Reinhardt's points , Reinhardt had been long dead but Blue did
find fellow Gray Ghost collector, Charlie Shewey in Missouri. Robert
offered to buy all of Shewey's Gray Ghosts and Richard Warren points
and that money was no object. Charlie refused Blue's offer, but
directed Robert to Richard Warren. After Robert bought a fair number
of points, Warren shared some of his secrets with Robert Blue and
introduced him to Jim Hopper, whom Warren had taught. Jim Hopper and
Robert Blue became good friends and Robert became very good at art
knapping. Barney DeSimone, couched Robert through his early years of
knapping. Later Robert inspired Barney to return somewhat to lapidary
knapping. It was Robert Blue that taught Ray Harwood to knap in the
lever style of Reinhardt, Ray produced dozens of "Raynish Daggers"
with the lever flaker. The Raynish Daggers were simply slab points in
the form of 10 inch Danish Daggers ("2-D daggers" -not 3
dimensional). These were what Callahan called the ugliest Danish
Daggers he had ever seen. After Robert's death and some prompting
from DeSimone and Callahan, Harwood returned to traditional
flintknapping. One interesting bit of knapping lore I overheard at a
knap in goes like this:" Steve Behenes had invented this steel
fluting jig that could flute supper this preforms. Steve was close to
Robert Blue at the time and he sent Robert a thin Folsom and the
detatched flutes, Robery returned the detached flute -and he had
fluted them ! Knapper, Billy Joe Sheldon a slab knapper from Folsom,
New Mexico has produced a video on the lapidary method of
flintknapping and he is really good. Many California knappers that I
know have adapted his methods. Sheldon's methods intail using the
Ishi stick as a lever on one's leg and slab knapping on a bench.
Back in the 1970s Reinhardt, Warren and Nelson shared ideas and
Bryan's work showed some change, some fancy pieces and a bit more of
a traditional looking work product. But even then when a man
commented to Bryan that his work did not look like "Indian points" ,
Bryan Replied; " I'm note trying to make Indian points, I make
Reinhardt points!" It was true, Bryan, in inventing and producing the
Edward's Plateau Gray Ghosts had not only invented a new point type
and a new craft style, he would change the face of flintknapping
forever. Bryan Reinhardt passed away in 1982 from either emphysema or
cancer, but the legendary flintworker of Gustine and his Gray Ghosts
will live on forever.
THE COLLECTOR:Another of the earlier flintknappers, a southerner, was
that of Charley Shewey. Charley is perhaps the leading collector of
modern flint artifacts in the world. Back in the late 1970s and early
1980s I can remember hearing stories of the legendary collector of
flint art. Born July 18th, 1911, in a wild cowboy town in Oklahoma,
Charlie was no stranger to Indian lore. Back in 1917 Charlie Shewey
found an arrowhead out on the farm. He wondered how it was made and
did some experimenting with his grandfather. Then in 1923, when
Charley was 12 years of age he witnessed a Boy Scout Master making a
flint arrowhead with deer antler tines. Charlie learned to knap with
the pressure method and got quite good. Then, after many decades of
knapping and collecting Charlie found a copy of D.C. Waldorf's 1975
1st edition The Art Of Flintknapping. After reading Waldorf's book
and eventually meeting him, Charlie got heavier into flintknapping
and produced master quality large flint bifaces and fluted points.
Charlie was the man responsible for bringing Waldorf together with
George Ekland. Waldorf was apt at percussion and Ekland was apt at
pressure. One day in Waldorf's old travel trailer the three met met
and it was like a stand off, Ekland jealus of Waldorf and Waldorf
Jealous of Ekland. Charlie told me once that Waldorf's books was all
wrong at first, Charlie went over it with him and after that Waldorf
produced the Second edition. Still considered an expert on stone
tools and flintknapping, but retired from actual knapping, now at
nearly 90 years old Charlie Shewey is considered an intricate part of
modern flintknapping history and a living flintknapping legend.
Archaeologists, collectors and most certainly flintknappers owe a
great deal to Charlie Shewey. I t was he, in the 1960s, that obtained
the authentic Ishi points that were cast by Peter Bostrom's Lithic
Casting Lab, and therefore made available to all. Charle was a pilot,
Army trained, and he had the job in the 1960s, of flying people
around the country. On one trip to California's bay area charlie made
the trade of his life. In one trip he ended up with 4 Ishi points and
and one Ishi knife.
THE TEXAS MASTER; In the states of Texas was a long lean bloke, it
wasn't Johnny Smoke, it was paleo flintknapping pioneer, J.B.
Sollberger. I was aquatinted with Mr. Sollberger and know that he was
a true master flintknapper and influence to hundreds.
Though they were contemporary, Carabtree and Texan, J.B. Sollberger
spurred on two separate schools of thought. Crabtree the obsidian
school and Sollberger the Texas flint school. Though both are
flintknapping, the methodology is very different.
In the realm of thought and mental visualization, deep in the mind is
the perfect visualization or pure idea, the mental template. For most
craftsmen by the time this idea becomes a piece of work it has lost a
bit of perfection. On rare occasion it is manifested in a piece of
art work, this was the case with the magnificent flintwork of J.B.
Sollberger, of Dallas, Texas.
Sollberger was a true flintknapping pioneer and a legend in his time.
Not only was Sollberger a master knapper, he was truly a gentleman
and humble as well. He was very analytical with his theoretical
papers and articles being the best in the field. His literary works
were of the highest quality where he published in many journals
including American Antiquity, Lithic Technology, Flintknappers'
Exchange, Flintknapping Digest, and The Emic Perspective.
J.B. Sollberger started flintknapping when he was middle aged, some
time around 1970. He always had a curiosity about knapping but didn't
get the "lithic erg" until he observed a scrapper making
demonstration at the 1970 Dallas Archaeological Society meetings.
Ironically Don Crabtree came to Dallas to the meetings but J.B.
Sollberger had to work so he missed the opportunity to meet Crabtree.
The next week he tried to make up for it buy going on his first flint
hunt and ordering Crabtrees book. Upon reading this, Sollberger got a
basic tool kit together and began experimenting.
Sollberger recalled seeing a forked stick in a museum in Texas as a
boy and began experimenting with his famous "fork and lever" knapping
style. Sollberger was very successful in his experiments and was soon
making fine arrow heads with his rig.
According to Sollberger (1978) " back in 1933 I suppose, we were just
boy artifact collectors. We made this trip to San Antone to see the
Witte Museum and inside they had a forked stick a little over a foot
long with something like 3/4 of an inch gap between the two forks. It
struck me that pressure flaking could be done with leverage by laying
the biface material across this forked stick and using the fork as a
fulcrum for a lever".
In 1990, John Wellman spoke to Solly and said that Solly was really
interested in the East Wenatchee Site in Washington and he had made
several large fluted points including an eight inch Cumberland he had
spend eight hours preparing and fluted off the tip. This was really
advanced work for the year and to me Sollberger's work remains
Bob Vernon, an old time Texas knapper once conveyed this story about
Sollberger to me: " If any of you ever had the privilege of sitting
alongside Solly at a small knapping session, you'll remember his dry,
but gentle, humor. Like the times when he would say, " That platform
looks a like a strong `un- guess I better drag out ol' "he-poppa-ho"
(his mega-moose billet)."
Almost all Sollberger's work was in flint or chert, I have only seen
one item made by Sollberger of obsidian. The obsidian point is in the
collection of Steve Carter, a master flintknapper from Ramona,
California. The obsidian point was very nice and very delicate, this
shows the diversity in craftsmanship Sollberger had. The last time I
spoke to J.B. Sollberger he was crafting a set of masterful flint
Folsom points out of Texas flint. He had made quite a few thousand
points in his time and was using 1,000 pounds of flint a year. Even
when Sollberger was quite old he continued being very active in
knapping and writing. In a letter from Sollberger to Steve Behrnes
Sollberger described this incredible expedience, " My house, on
Monday nights, is known as the Sollberger Clovis Factory. Joe Miller
and Woody Blackwell made Tee Shirts to that name which we often wear.
Dr. Ericson, David Hartig,Gene Stapleton, Jess Nichols, are regulars
who concentrate on fluting." J.B. Sollberger died on Sunday, May 7 at
Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas from emphysema. He was 80
years old. Many rumors have surfaced in the years after his death,
that Solly died of silicosis, this is simply untrue. According to the
Dallas Morning News, Solly donated his collection to the University
of Texas, where they will be used for study. In my collection I have
several Sollberger points, the one that is my favorite has written on
it "to my friend Ray Harwood from J.B. Sollberger," I use that point
as inspiration for my own knapping.
The Thinking Man: One of the most knowledgeable and talented
flintknappers of our time was a Virginia Flintknapper, whom has
influenced hundreds, if not thousands, Errett Callahan. We can sit
and wonder where Callahan came from and why he was such an influence.
The answer is this, Callahan came into knapping with a great deal of
skill, intellegence and strength, at a time when a whole new
generation of archaeologists were coming out of the old school with a
lot of questions. Crabtree had just released his book and was bumping
out students by the bus load. Archaeology was hungry and Callahan was
just what the doctor ordered. He had fresh ideas and an uncanning
knapping ability intertwined the craft and theory like no one before
or since.
In 1956, just out of high school, Errett spent the summer in
Yellowstone National Park working at the Old Faithful general store.
He was exposed to a lot of history at the park and had access to
obsidian, this gave him the start he needed and he began knapping
seriously then and has been doing it full steam ever since, later
combining his early grinding methods as part of his flaking strategy.
It started on a trip out when he was waiting for the train in
Montana. He went into a local library and found a book on various
point types. He was fascinated by this and it sort of plugged some
into his memory. In his spare time he would try to duplicate these,
using small pieces of obsidian and bottle glass and guided only by
the flintknapping picture in Holling's book. It was another 10 years
before Errett realized that there were other people flintknapping. Up
until then he thought he was the only one.
Errett read more and more of Bordes's works and met him several
times. Francois Bordes stayed at Callahan's house for several days in
1977. Bordes, as Errett, was inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and he
published numerous science fiction novels. Callahan, as a college
student, had once been assigned to be Bordes's escort to a knapping
demonstration sponsored by the Anthropology department in D.C. for
the Leaky Foundation lectures. In 1977 Bordes spent four days
knapping there in Richmond. Bordes had plenty of money to visit the
U.S.A. because not only was he a master flintknapper and Europe's
leading archaeologist, but also one of the most popular science
fiction writers in France. According to Callahan Bordes wrote dozens
of novels under the pen name of Franci Carsac. Callahan was
influenced quite a bit by Bordes. At the same time Errett was also
reading the works of Don Crabtree. Errett was Fascinated by Crabtree,
they met in Calgary in 1974 and Crabtree gradually became a heavy
influence on Errett's knapping. J.B. Sollberger was another major
influence and led Errett to bigger and better things than he could
have without that input. Gene Titmus of Idaho, a friend of Crabtree
was also a major influence on Callahan, mostly his notching and
serrating techniques. Errett stayed in close contact with Gene for
many years, Gene a master knapper of percussion and, like Don, about
the nicest and humblest guy he'd ever met.
Some other overseas influences on Errett were Jacques Pelegrin and Bo
Madsen. Pelegrin had been Bordes number one student in France,
working under him for years. Pelgrin first trained with Bordes over
six summers, for three weeks each summer. Pelegrin worked with a
hardwood billit, which he learned to use from Bordes's friend in
Paris, Jacques Tixier, whom was one of the Masters of flintworking of
the time. Pelegrin became very good with boxwood. Jacques Pelegrin's
father built a cottage in the French woods, here Jacques reflected on
archaeological concepts and flintknapping. At this time, in the
1970s, Pilegrin was writing a bit back and forth to Master Don
Crabtree in the USA and Jacques had begun to read and interprit
Crabtree's publications. Pelegrin did public flintknapping
demonstations in the Archeodrome, which is on the main road between
Beaune and Lyon, France. He is concidered one of the best
flintknappers in the world. Pelegrin and Bordes learned English
together and spend years flintknapping together and learning, master
and student became knapping partners. Jacques Pelgrin went through
almost all the Paleolthic French technologies while learning his
craft- Levallois, blade making, different kinds of Paleolithic tools,
different kinds of flint cores, and leave points, including Solutrean
pressure material. It is an interesting fact that Pelegrin learned to
flintknap standing up and only changes after his first exposure to
other knappers and text.
Bo Madsen is Denmark's premier flintknapper, a grand- master of the
Danish art. Madison is an expert on Danish lithics and earned his
Ph.D. at Arhus in Jutland, Denmark. Madsen's dagger research
influenced Callahan greatly and this spread to America and in this
era many knappers were attempting dagger production: Waldorf, Patten,
Stafford, Flenniken and Callahan in particular. Errett spend a good
deal of time in the 1970s in Scandinavia and returned again in August
of 1984. Madsen had moved over to the University of Arhus and was
teaching a talented portage, Peter Vemming Hansenat at the University
of Copenhagen, the two had co-wrote and published a paper on the
replication of square- sectioned axes. While in Scandinavia Callahan
gave several flintknapping workshops sponsored by the Archaeological
Institute of the University of Uppsala, Sweden, he was assisted by Bo
Madsen and Dr. Debbie Olausson. According to Callahan, the Copenhagen
area has several talented non-academic knappers as well Thorbjorn
Peterson, Asel Jorgensen, and Soren Moses.
In later years Errett's biggest influence was Richard Warren. Richard
was completely underground and out of contact for most of his
knapping life, he became a lapidary knapper that had an exclusive
clientele. Richard Warren's work was incredibly precise, much more
than anyone at the time thought was possible. Errett had to
reconstruct the Warren technique entirely from scratch. Richard
Warren showed Errett one important thing- perfection is possible- and
that's all he needed to know. Richard Warren died a few years ago,
Warren's curiosity was to know what could be done with flint if
someone picks up where the best stone age knappers abandoned the
craft for metal technology or extinction. In short Richard's quest
was for knapping for the sake of art-perfection, by any means
possible. Richard used the term "Teleolithics" to describe what we
now call lapidary knapping, flake over grinding (lap-knapping). After
Hannus' colon operation, in 1983, for which Errett made the obsidian
blades used in the surgery and observed the entire operation, two of
Callahan's students decided to start a company with him to market
these blades to the medical community. The one who was supposed to do
the marketing dropped out and little became of " Aztecnics".
Errett markets his obsidian art through "Piltdown Productions" in
Virginia. Callahan is best known for his published work The Basics Of
Biface Knapping In The Eastern Fluted Point Tradition A Manual For
Flintknappers And Lithic Analysts. This was published in Archaeology
Of North America, . He has also published many other books and
articles. Including: "Flintknappers' exchange" (the original
journal), "The Emic Perspective" and "Flintknapping Digest". The
Basics Of Biface knapping In The Eastern Fluted Point Tradition was
the single most influential lithic book ever written.
The Callahan biface book is Vol. 7, No. 1 of the journal Archaeology
Of Eastern North America. The book introduced many new techniques for
the study of stone tools, for standard and experimental archaeology.
The concepts, "the lithic grade scale, and biface staging, are widely
used in flintknapping circles to the point the most new knappers
didn't even know these concepts were fairly new and discovered by
As Crabtree before him Callahan was the only living flintknapper with
the confidence to have major surgery done with stone tools he crafted
himself. According to the news release on December 9th, 1998, Errett
Callahan had major surgery done to repair his right rotator cuff
tendon. The two hour landmark operation was done by Dr. Jay Hopkins
of Blue Ridge Orthopedics at Lynchburg General Hospital. Callahan's
rotor cuff tendon had become completely torn off the top of his
humerus bone and had to be extensively reworked. Dr Hopkins said that
it was as bad a tear as he had ever witnessed. All incisions were
made with Callahan's obsidian scalpels. Dr. Hopkins, after performing
the operation, was impressed with the great reduction of bleeding in
the initial incisions and states: I used the obsidian blade for a
shoulder operation and found them quite satisfactory. They performed
very much like a scalpel and the bleeding with the first cut through
the skin was minimal. Healing appears to be very much normal, if not
Errett Callahan was founder and president of the Society of Primitive
Technology for many years . The Society is an international
organization devoted to the preservation of a wide range of primitive
technologies. The SPT preserves and promotes this knowledge
principally by means of a remarkable magazine, the Bulletin of
Primitive Technology. Errett has now retired from his editor and
chief and president but he will stay an active member. For more
information contact Society of Primitive Technology, P.O. Box 905,
Rexburg, Id 83440. The Bulletin is now being edited and produced by
Primitive skills expert David Wescott. At this time Errett Callahan
is in the midst of writing a major book on flintknapping - everything
he knows...and he knows a lot..The book is going to focus a on Danish
Daggers. The book is addressed to both the archaeologist and
flintknapper a like. This book is a 20-year research project in which
200 daggers were replicated. The research was funded by a grant from
the King of Sweden and by Uppsala University. Callahan is cowritting
the book with Jan Apel, a PhD student at Uppsala and fellow
flintknapper. The new book will do for daggers what his biface book
did for that field. Callahan is also working on a book on
experimental archaeology.
Callahan still puts on his week long classes at Cliff Side on
flintknapping, traditional archery, primitive pottery, lithic
analysis, and more. Bob Verrey, a former student and long time
flintknapper, archaeologist and supplier of knapping tools offers a
scholarship to the school but it is very competitive. .
Bruce Bradley was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and raised in Lansing
Michigan. He spent as much time as he could in the woods and Bruce
remembers knocking rocks together even as a toddler, he even has this
on film. In the mid 1960s Bruce's family moved the desert near
Tucson, Arizona. Bruce began exploring the Arizona desert and began
finding artifacts. As soon as he was able he enrolled at the
University of Arizona as an anthropology student. In 1969 Bruce was
fortunate to have the chance and work with Don Crabtree, Francois
Bordes and Jacques Tixier. Here is Bruce Bradley's account of when he
spent a whole semester with master French flintknapper Francois
Bordes: "Francois Bordes spent a whole semester at U of A in spring
1970; he and I spend every spare moment knapping in a little room on
the ground floor of the Anthro building. I still don't know why, but
he and I hit it off extremely well (pun intended). Our temperaments
were absolute opposites. I was born with patience (in knapping) and a
high threshold of frustration. When something went wrong and I
screwed up I would, for the most part, shrug my shoulders, toss the
offending pieces over my shoulder and quietly begin over. On the
other hand, Francois was a "power knapper" and what he lacked in
finesse he made up for in sheer force. You can imagine how this
worked with brittle obsidian; an almost unbroken string of
obscenities would waft out of that little room and bounce around the
halls of the Anthro. building. One of Francois' favorite sayings
was, "Flint, she is a woman, obsidian, she is a whore"'. I learned
how to swear in 14 languages! This is a skill I seldom employ, but on
rare occasions I can still be heard mumbling some of these colorful,
if unintelligible, phrases."
WALDORF and the Fued.:The man who wrote the book that introduced
thousands to the craft of flintworking was D.C. Waldorf, the book was
The Art Of Flintknapping. This book details the craft from the
acquisition of the stone, heat treating, reduction and bifacing. The
book highlights the sequencing developed by Callahan and reviews also
Calahan's lithic grade scale, which classifies flint like materials
by the degree of force necessary to detach flakes. The Waldorf book
is full of great photos and line drawings done by the talented Val
Waldorf , the spouse of the author. The Art Of Flintknapping is a
true classic. Waldorf, as Callahan did several years ealier, became
fasinated with knapping Danish Daggers. He eventually went to
Denmark, on Mike Stafford's bill, and studied daggers there with
Stafford. Mike was best known for his work with John Whittaker but he
actually seams to have been influenced by Callahan. Stafford, it is
said, was wet grinding a dagger in the bathroom at the Callahan home
at Cliff Side, the water from this indeavor soaked into the wooden
slats of the floor and ruined them. Later the pollitical climat
between Waldorf and Callahan became fridged, and the two men hated
each other and Stanford denied any dagger influence from Callahan.
Originally, Waldorf and Callahan were friends and colleages. The two
main stories of why the two camps seperated are these: First, many
say that both men were trying to start a knapping guild and each had
different ideas and supporters. The second story is that when Waldorf
started making Daggers he did not want compition from Callahan, so he
isolated him from the mainstream knapping community he controlled
through CHIPS. Callahan even sent Waldorf a $100.00 piece offering,
Waldorf sent the money back. Waldorf said later, he does not except
brown nosing. Another attribute of The Art Of Flintknapping was it
introduced the world to two of the southern United States premier
flintknappers, Waldorf himself and the master percussion knapper, Jim
Jim Spears, the knapper that pioneered modern theory of isolated
platforms for large Cado blade thinning, was born September 5th,
1942, and had been interested in artifacts and stone tools all of his
life. . When Jim got out of the Navy he inquired around about
knapping and eventually saw a man using a beer can, or bear bottle
opener to pressure flake the edges of spalls, it was a twisting
motion. This discovery fascinated Jim, but before long he discovered
that a deer antler and dolomite hammerstones were the way to go. Jim
moved to Noel in 1965 and made his first flint point around 1966, he
has made over ten thousand points since. When Jim would get off work
at a trailer making company, he would go out in the woods and knapp.
After many years and many tons of flint he became one of the best
flintknappers of all time, his large, thin, patterned percussion
blades of colorful flint are masterful and each is a work of
art. "Jim pieces" as they are affectionately called by collectors,
fetch a handsome price. The largest noviculite point ever made was
a `Jim peace" and was 20 inches long, and was unheated.
It was Francois Bordes that realy put flintknapping on the world map.
Bordes was internationally known for having studied and recreating
ancient stone tools from 12,000 years ago. Bordes duplicated some 63
tool types. Bordes made over 100,000 stone tools in his life. He was
Born in France in 1919. Bordes was director of the Labratory of
Quarternary Geology and History at the University of Bordeaux,
France. Bordes concluded that there were four Neanderthal cultures
based on stone tool assembleges.
Francois Bordes was an accomplished felow. He wrote many books which
include the Old Stone Age and A Tale Of Two Caves. He wrote several
books and many articles under the "pen name" Francis Carsac. Bordes
was a hot tempered fellow, with a massive brain and bank account to
match, he often visited America and his friends; Don Crabtree, Errett
Callahan and Bruce Bradely. Francois Bordes died on April 30th, 1981
while lecturing at the University of Arizona at Tuson.
The story of modern California knapping. I met Jeannie Binning at the
1984 NARC knap in. Jeannie one of the better knappers, and is most
likely the best female flintknapper in the world , She is now an
instructor at U.C. Riverside. This is where she got her Ph.D..
Jeannie was born and raised in southern California and got her BA
degree and Cal. State Northrige while working at NARC. Jeannie
Binning is a master at knapping obsidian and true to her instructors,
Don Crabtree and later Jeffery Flenniken, she is excellent at
knapping large wide obsidian bifaced blades. Jeannie was told me the
story of when she first went to the Crabtree Flintknapping Field
School in Idaho. She and some other students arrived at the little
airport and some old guy came and picked the up in some old jalopy,
the guy was nice enough and rather unassuming. It wasn't until they
were at their destination that she learned the old guy was" the dean
of American flintknapping", Don Crabtree. She told me that when Don
was teaching her some technique and he cut his hand. he was on blood
thinners for his heart condition and blood was squirting everywhere ,
but he kept on knapping, he was intent on teaching me. Jeannie has
been to many of the Field Schools, first as a student then as an
Paul Hellweg, a fellow Army Tanker. Paul, likes to specialise in
ground stone axe manufacture, and he is quite good at it. He was
actually a Crabtree and Flenniken Student, but went over to the
servival camp when he got a job teaching it at C.S.U.N. where I first
met him in the early 1980s. Paul wrote some nice articles for the
Flintknapping Digest in 1984 and published a book on knapping the
same year, Flintknapping, The Art of Making Stone Tools that has sold
over 50,000 copies. Hellweg has also writen many other books and is
doing quite well financially. I attented a week long Callahan school
with him in the summer and and he appears to be thinking of redoing
his book and becomming more active in the knapping world.
San Diego, California was a hot bed of really good knappers in the
early 1970s, it sprung from a visit from Sollberger sometime in that
era. Only Steve Carter remains of that group. Navodne (Rod) Reiner,
another California sad story , Rod was one of the San Diego
flintknappers that Steve Carter hung around with in the 1970s. Like
Steve, Rod was a really good flintknapper, all traditional, and good
person. Rod did a lot of knapping and made nice pieces of lithic art
but was also interested in the experimental aspect as well. Rod came
up with the two man fluting technique; Reiner gripped the biface in
his left hand, held it down tightly against his thigh, while his
right hand used the full weight of his body from the shoulder to bear
down on the flaking tool. Then, to this he added a little more force
by using a second person to deliver a light tapping blow to the end
of the pressure flaker with a mallet. Reiner stated that the mallet
strikes just at the instant that the pressure flake is pressed off.
With Rod's method both constant pressure and a releasing percussion
impact a nice flute is detached. Rod, whom was also at the Little
Lake knap-in was a very good knapper and a big influence on Steve
Carter, but Rod was killed early on in a hunting accident. Chris
Hardacker was another, he just faded into the woodwork, I saw him
working as a digger for Jeannie Binning at one of her digs in the
middle 1980s.
In the mid 1970s flintknapping was really popular in University
archaeology departments around the world. Inspired by Francois Bordes
in France, Don Crabtree in Idaho, Robert Patten in Colorado, D.C.
Waldorf and Jim Spears in Missouri, Errett Callahan in Virginia and
J.B. Sollberger in Texas.
The knappers were in contact with each other but there was a high
degree of frustration over a lack of continuity and organization, no
medium existed for their use. The idea of a flintknapping
publication, for and by flintknappers, was born. Errett Callahan
realized that many useful ideas and suggestions which were being
exchanged between flintknappers, through the mail, could not be
shared with other knappers because there were no means for publishing
the information. What brought the whole thing to a head was realizing
the sense of frustration which J.B. Sollberger expressed in one of
his letters to Errett Callahan. Sollbergers letters were typically
packed with both practical and theoretical knowledge Solly had gained
from years of experience. Without any link to the academic arena of
the mid 1970s, it was very unlikely that J.B. Sollberger would have
ever gotten his ideas in print. Callahan suspected that if this was
true with J.B. Sollberger than it must be true for hundreds of
flintknappers around the world as well. What was needed to midigate
this problem was an informal means of getting the flintknappers ideas
into print. Without the hassles of formal writing and the
gratification of not having to wait long periods of time to get into
print, if it ever shows up at all. The idea came together and Volume
1, Number 1 of the Flintknappers' Exchange came to be on January
1978. The new journal had a very journalistic nature, more than dry
and academic. Without being amateurish. It was printed and mailed out
3 times a year at a cost of $2.00 per issue. It was edited by Errett
Callahan and Jacquelin Nichols and published by Atchitson Inc. The
technical editorial board included : Callahan, Flenniken, Patten,
Patterson, Sollberger, Titmus and a California kanpper named Chris
Hardaker. Hardaker was also production assistant. Later Penelope
Katson was managing
editor. The journal was great it launched the first knap-ins and
introduced the stars and theories of modern flintknapping. The
journal lasted almost four years and ended, without warning, with
Volume 4, Number 2 in the summer of 1981.
After the close of the Flintknappers' Exchange in 1981, there was a
void for two years. Communication among flintknappers slowed to a
stop. In 1984 at the knap-in at the Northridge Archaeological
Research Center I was talking about the need for a newsletter to Clay
Singer and Terry Frederick, they suggested I do it, well I had
dyslexia, couldn't type and had no money, okay! Alton Safford,
Jeannie Binning and Joe Dabill encouraged as well. I couldn't get
anyone to help me with the project so I did it myself. I started work
on the first issue, all the words were misspelled, the grammar was
just as bad, I cut and past the cover. I wanted to call it the
Flintknappers' Monthly but I couldn't find those words in the old
NARC newsletters so I got close with "FLintknapping Digest" and cut
and pasted it on the cover. I used the address list in the old
Flintknappers' Exchange at the end of each article to find the
knappers. It worked I began to get a flood of mail about it. It was
really amateurish and I got a lot of flak, but everybody who got it
loved it. Clay Singer said "it has a folksy, underground publication
look" . In any case it got better with each issue. I remember asking
J.B. Sollberger to write an article for me and he got really mad. He
said that I was just trying to associate with his name to gain fame
and make the newsletter sell better , I was unaffected and said yes,
so do I get the article? We got along fine after that and I did get
the article, I think he trusted me to tell the truth after that. He
even made me some fluted points. The "J.B." in J.B. Sollberger is
rumored to stand for "John the Baptist" . So you see with a
reputation like that truth means a lot. I was amazed that the little
newsletter was doing so well, my mom was too, she never thought such
a weird newsletter would work. I was 24 years old when I started the
newsletter and didn't have a whole lot else going, it was great, I
met all my flintknapping heroes. One day I got a letter from D.C.
Waldorf and he was asking about something, I can't remember, but he
referred to the Flintknapping Digest as "The Digest", I put the
letter in the next issue and from then on that's what everyone called
it. Even now I see it referenced to time and again and it is almost
always given its affectionate name "The Digest" it gave knappers a
worm and fuzzy feel, like an old dog that you had when you were a
kid. Even old dogs pass on, and in the late 1980s, even with Val
Waldorf's help, I couldn't do it anymore. After some coaxing the
waldorf's took pity on me and took the newsletter over. They gave it
a face lift and a new name "Chips" .
One of the articles published in 1981 in the Flintknappers' Exchange
really woke up the worlds' flintknappers to a real danger. Jeffery
Kalin of Norwalk, CT. wrote Flintknapping and Silicosis. The article
shows how knappers that inhale dangerous dust can die early. More
people wore dust masks than ever, at least for a couple weeks. Terry
Frederick wrote in a letter stating Sears and Roebuck carries
respirators. According to the American Antiquity article " The main
academic lithic journal in the United States, Lithic Technology, had
some 300 subscribers in 1997, according to the editor, George Odell.
Many of these are lithic analysts rather than knappers, but many
knap, at least at some level, and many academic knappers are not
subscribers. The newsletter Flinknappers' Exchange, which ran from
1979 to 1981 and was oriented toward archaeologically involved
knappers, had some 700 subscribers, according to Errett Callahan, one
of the editors. Perhaps 300 to 500 is a reasonable conservative
estimate of the number of academic knappers in the United States. The
authors of the American Antiquity article did not think Flintknapping
Digest was important enough to include in their article, but it had
at one time, nearly 600 subscribers. At one point I published The
Stone Age Yellow Pages with a list of all the know knappers, this was
also not good enough for the article. According to the article, "
Between 1991 and 1994, Jeff Behrnes edited a second flintknapping
newsletter aimed at non-archaeological knappers, The Flintknapper's
Exchange, and compiled a list of over 1,300 names, mostly knappers
with some related craftsmen and small business. The current
newsletter, Chips, has around 1,200 subscribers, according to D.C.
and Val Waldorf . The Bulletin of Primitive Technology recently
reached 2,907 subscribers, while many of them are more interested in
other pursuits, Callahan feels that most of the knap.
The internet has really put a new twist on the knapping world.
Richard Sanchez, A knapper from Texas, led the way with his Flint
Forum an online "list" or interactive newsletter. Sanchez, along with
a very few others, helped fight the cyber knappers against fraud and
other unethical practices Sanchez, who was inspired to knap by his
father-in-law, was also a computor wiz. Compining his two passions
Sanchez started the "cyber-silca" revalution. He began two popular on-
line news platforms one "The Flint Forum List" and later The Tarp
List" . These lists insired others to get into the field. Richard
does not play around with glass, obsidian or labidary and stays on
track with traditional Texas flintknapping in the Sollberger
tradition od bifacing with antler billet off isolated platforms.
Richard is what modern traditional knapping is all about.
THE CRABTREE STUDENTS: Many think of Flenniken as Crabtree's first
student, but Rob Bonnichson was the first student to work with
Crabtree for an extended period. Bonnichsen worked with Crabtree
longer than any other American lithics student. Crabtree's teaching
method was simple, Crabtree flintknapped and his students watched.
Taws in 1968 when Bonnichson got a graduate research assistantship
for him to spend a year in southern Idaho working with master
craftsman, Don Crabtree. Rob Bonnichson, back in the 1960s and 1970s
was knapping 2 tons of rock a year and producing tens of thousands of
artifacts. His material being mostly ignimbrite and obsidian, bur he
did have a lot of expense with cherts as well. Rob Bonnichsen became
in charge of the Dept. of Anthropology, Institute for Quaternary
Research at the University of Maine in Orono. It was Rob that had a
lot to do with the forming of the Mammoth Trumpet, a newspaper for
the study of ancient man. He put a bit of information about the
Flintknapping Digest out in the Mammoth Trumpet and helped me get me
on my feet in the early 1980s. A few years later I received a letter
from my old friend, Hugo Nami, a flintknapper and archaeologist from
Argentina, Hugo had been visited by Bonnchson there and had sent me
some really nice photos of them.
Jeffery Flenniken took over the flintknapping field school started by
Don Crabtree in 1968. Flenniken has conducted the school since the
death of Crabtree. The school was moved to the scenic environment of
the Sawtooth National Forest of central Idaho. The school was offered
through the Department of Anthropology, Washington State University.
Each student had to be a graduate student and entrance was based upon
a letter of interest, vita, and three letters of recommendation.
Callahan also ran a school that was open to all interested adults of
any level of experience.
Flenniken was born on May 20th, 1949. He received his B.A. degree
from the University of Arkansas and his M.A. from WSU. He gas had
papers published in the Plains Anthropologist (1974), Journal of
Field Archaeology(1975), and American Antiquity(1978).
In the mid 1970s Flenniken went and gave a flintknapping demo and
researched lithics a the Institute at Leningrad, then in the USSR.
There he worked with Dr. S.A. Semenov. Dr. Semenov was the father of
functional analysis of stone tools which revolutionized contemporary
archaeology. In December of 1978 Dr. Semenoff died of a heart attack
leaving the lithic studies department at the University of Leningrad
to Dr. Korokova, a previous student of Seminov's. Flenniken had quite
an effect of the USSR and flintknapping experimentation increased.
This experience was documented in National Geographic, Vol. 156, No.
3, Sept 1979.
Flenniken toyed with stone tool manufacture when he was very young
but actually got into it in high school. Like everyone, Flenniken
thought he was the only person in the world attempting flintknapping.
Like Crabtree and Jeannie Binning Flenniken did most of his reduction
thinning on bifaces with flat hammerstones. Flenniken used copper
pressure flakers as well as antler and justified this, Archaeologist
Ritchie, in New York, excavated some copper pressure flakers in some
early Archaic archaeological sites. He uses 2 to 3 tons of obsidian a
year and his production of artifacts is in the tens of thousands. He
has crafted everything from the smallest micro-blades to massive
bifaces and uses mostly obsidian. Flenniken was best known for his
approach to studying artifacts through a replication system he called
replicative systems analysis, he applied this in his American
Antiquity article Lindenmier Folsom. Flenniken's replicative systems
analysis involves replication of the entire lithic system from
inception to deposition: selection of raw materials, heat treatment,
reduction, hafting, function, and deposition. He had also applied
this to the vein quartz artifacts from the Hoko River site, and a
hafted microlith site on the Northwest Coast.
An interesting beginning to a talk about Gene Titmus would be a quote
from his friend Jeffery Flenniken, April 8, 1979: "In terms of sheer
talent as craftsmen and superiority in actual flintknapping
techniques, I think Gene Titmus and Don Crabtree are each better than
any one person has been in all of prehistory".
Gene Titmus was a power plant operator at Swan Falls, Idaho. When he
had free time he did a lot of knapping. He was exposed to artifacts
and archaeology at an early age in southern Idaho. He was raised in
the canyon of the Snake River at Shashone Falls. He used to find
arrowheads in the area from time to time. Titmus didn't begin
knapping until he got out of the service. He still found arrow heads
around and one day he decided to give knapping a try. Titmus met
Crabtree about a year later. Crabtree wanted Titmus to develop his
own style so he tried not to be a big influence on him. Titmus has a
holding method that is quite unique as is his pressure flaking
method. Living near Crabtree and Bonnichson, Titmus was exposed to
similar raw material ; ignimbrite and obsidian. According to Errett
Callahan " His Folsoms, prismatic pressure blades, parallel flaking,
and eccentrics (dubbed "Titmus lace" by his friends) are second to
none". The last few years Gene Titmus has been working on several
projects in South America wirh Don Wood.
Another of Don Crabtree's students that made a significant
contribution to flintknapping history was that of John Fagan. John
Fagan has has a major archaeology-lithics business in Oregon and been
flintknapping for 40 years. He began at the age of 10 years old. He
was interested in Indians as a child his grandfather how the Indians
went about removing the flake to create these artifacts. John's
father told him that they heated the stone and dropped cold water on
them to remove the flakes. His first experiments using the water
dripping method were performed on top of the wood burning stove in
the kitchen, it was unsuccessful, I remember trying it once and a
piece of exploding obsidian embedded in my kitchen roof. John, not
doubting his grandfather, assumed that something was wrong with his
prehistoric technique and continued to use his father's metal hammer
to break up obsidian into small chunks and flakes. He selected thin
straight flakes and pressure flaked them with nails. When he was 15
years old John met a man named Oscar Dobins who used deer antler and
pressure flaked on the palm of his hand which was protected with a
leather pad. This technique was more effective and John still uses it
today for pressure flaking small points. John Fagan's first 10 years
of stone working were essentially on his own with only an occasional
meeting with another knapper. In 1973, John Fagan attended the
Crabtree Flintknapping field school. Don Crabtree and his students
taught him more about flintknapping in a few weeks than he was able
to pick up on his own in 19 years. John went on to get his Ph.D. and
has influenced many modern flintknappers. The most prominent of
Fagan's students is that of Graig Ratzat. Graig attended monthly
sessions with Fagan and later with Errett Callahan. Graig eventually
started his own business called " Neo Lithics" from which he sells
excellent quality obsidian, master level lithic art and two videos he
has produces Caught Knapping and Lap Knapping. Graig has also
followed his master instructors Fagan and Callahan and holds a field
school of his own at Glass Buttes.
Since attending college John Fagan has focused on archaeological
issues and experimental archaeology and used both flintknapping and
experimental replication in his analysis and interpretation of
archaeological sites and artifacts. His dissertation gave him an
opportunity to use his knapping experiments in the analysis of
artifacts from 12 sites that he tested as part of his doctoral
project at the University of Oregon.
John lives in Portland, Oregon, he does most of his flintknapping on
weekends, in his back yard. He obtains his obsidian from Glass Butte
and agate and chert from road cuts and agate mines on the Columbia
River near Bigg's Junction, Oregon. John prefers non-obsidian but
does not have ready access to flint, chert ect. Fagan has used stone
and bone tools to conduct several experiments and he is impressed at
how effective they are. Recent experiments include: building a
chinook style plank house made of cedar logs and split planks with
stone, bone, antler and wooden tools. This project was done at a
State Park with several volunteers over a 3 year period. He has spent
years conducting experiments on fluting in an effort to understand
and replicate Clovis points from a site he worked on in south-central
Oregon. One summer John worked with Kim Akerman replicating 50
Lindenmeir Folsom points. John Fagan knaps about 10 hours a week in
the summer and about 1o hours a month in the winter.
Bob Patten has been flintknapping for nearly 40 years and is self
taught. He uses as close to aboriginal methods as possible. He has
just released a book where he shares his extensive knowledge in a
concise, yet comprehensive, overview of flintknapping. He clearly
explains the principles and concepts required to make stone tools.
According to Dr. James Dixon, Denver Museum of Natural history-
archaeologist, "Old tools-New Eyes is the best book of its type I
have had the pleasure to read. Bob is one of North America's greatest
flintknappers." Bob's book contains these concepts on ; Appreciate
early tool making skills, Link appearance of an artifact with the way
it was made, understand and control fracture, receive detailed
instructions on how to make arrowheads, learn how classic artifact
types were made , view 200 carefully prepared illustrations and
acquire fresh ideas and novel viewpoints.
The biggest influence on Bob Patten's knapping was Indian artifacts.
At first, he tried to copy them by referring to standard typology
based on shapes. It wasn't long though before he got hooked on
tracing out the whole start-to-finish process. When Bob got access to
collections of workshop debitage through the Smithsonian Institution
his progress really took off. Since then, he has come to think that
only a few minor shifts in technology are responsible for the whole
range of paleo-style points. Bob also thought that it may not take
that much skill to match paleo-indian work. The trick is to focus
less on the end results and more on how you get there.
Many years ago Bob heard Don Crabtree remark that many areas of the
world lacked large antlered animals, so there must be different tools
which serve as well as antler to explain the artifacts which were
being found. Since that time, Bob has found that it is possible to do
the same things with many kinds of tools if one understands the
mechanics involved. Part of his work involves finding out how many
tools can create the same effect.
Bob patten's style of percussion work is very relaxed. Instead of
supporting the preform on his leg, he keeps his work as loose in his
left hand as is possible. He also swings his baton very loosely. He
has a strong preference for working against individually prepared
striking platforms. Even when he is pressure flaking, he usually uses
a copper "nibbler" to set up spur platforms.Most of Bob Patten's
pressure work is done with unhafted antler tines. He usually works in
a sitting position with his left hand on top of his leg and works the
tine with wrist and arm action. The exception has been when he uses a
table block for Eden flaking.
Ginsberg. It was March 8th through 15th, 1978 the African elephant
from John Wayne's movie "Hatari" died in Boston's Franklin Park Zoo.
In the name of science a team of archaeologists headed by Dennis
Stanford, Curator of Archaeology at the Smithsonian Museum of natural
History, on an experimental butchering of the 6,000 pound animal with
stone tools.
Ginsberg, the elephant, died of a cerebral hematoma, brought on by a
broken leg. Her body was transported to the National zoological
park's research station in front Royal, Virginia.
Errett Callahan tested out a wide variety of Clovis hafting systems,
achieving 8 to 10 inch penetration in non-frozen, non-boney areas.
Callahan also tested out Clovis bifaces in all stages of manufacture
during skinning and butchering. Errett's hafted Clovis points proved
to be among the most efficient of all the butchering tools made use
of during the Ginsburg experiment.
Rob Bonnichson conducted bone fracture experiments after Ginsberg's
leg bone was exposed. The periosteum, a membrane tissue, was scraped
off the bone so it would break more easily. Bonnichson lifted a
twenty -one pound stone high over his head and thrust it down onto
the bone, after five impacts, the bone finely fractured. The next
experiment involved the knapping of the thick bone. It was found that
the bone knapped like flint but easier, using traditional percussion
techniques. The bone even got step fractures like flint.


Data was gathered throught he personal interviews of: John Whitaker,
Charlie Shewey, Bob Patten, Jack Cresson, D.C. Waldorf, Val Waldorf,
Errett Callahan, Paul Hellweg, Richard Sanchez, Jeannie Binning,
Alton Safford, and Barney DeSimone.

The information set forth in this text relied heavly on the fallowing

Fintknapper's Exchange:
Atchiston, Inc.
4426 Constution N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Etidors: Errett Callahan, Jacqueline Nichols and Penelope Katson.

Flintknapping Digest.
Harwood Archaeology
4911 Shadow Stone
Bakersfield, CA 93313
Editor: Ray Harwood

Bulletin of Primitive Technology.
Journal of the Society of Primative Technology
P.O. Box 905
Rexburg, ID 83440
Dave Wescot, Editor

Mound Builder Books
P.O. Box 702
Branson, MO. 65615
Editors: Val Waldorf, D.C. Waldorf and Dane Martin.

New Flintknapper's Exchange.
High Fire Flints
11212 Hooper Road,
Baton Rouge, LA 70818
Editors: Jeff Behrnes, Steve Behernes and Chas Spear

20Th Century Lithics.
Mound Builder Books
P.O. Box 702
Branson, MO. 65615
Editors: Val Waldorf and D.C. Waldorf.

WARNING: Flintknapping is very dangerous and can cause serious health
problems, including death.
Ray Harwood, The World Flintknapping Society or any officer or
members of said society do not suggest you should attempt
flintknapping, do so only at your own risk. All those that are listed
in this history book wore protection.

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