Moundville Knap-In

Jim Redfearn fashions a large obsidian blade.

March 7 – 9, 2014

Flintknapping is an ancient technology used by nearly all Stone Age people. Native Americans made most of their weapons and many of their tools from stone prior to Europeans arriving in the New World. Very quickly, native people set aside flintknapping in favor of metal implements to the point where the technology was almost lost. In the last 25 years, however; hundreds, if not thousands of people have revived the process, passing their knowledge down from one person to another in much the same way as the ancients did.

Cherokee flintknapper and living historian Noel Grayson demonstrates with the same types of tools his ancestors used. Photo by Jerome Adams

Flintknapping is based on the principle of how glass breaks. Imagine what a windowpane looks like when it’s been shot with a BB pellet. Where the BB goes into the pane the hole is small. As the pellet goes through the glass, a cone shaped piece pops out. Using these laws of physics, knappers create any number of tools or weapons. Spear and arrow points, knives, scrapers, drills and spokeshaves are just a few things Indians from our area made using this technology.

There are about as many different ways to knap as there are flintknappers. Some knappers use only tools made out of stone or bone to fashion their points. Others use copper covered, lead weighted billets they call “boppers” to hammer on their stone. Lapidary knappers use rock saws and heavy duty grinders to preshape their pieces prior to removing flakes.

Regular admission is charged for the visiting public. Call 205-371-8732 for more information.

Larger stone blades hafted into different types of handle show the variety of weapons ancient people could fashion. Photo by Jerome Adams

 

Are you interested in learning to knap or setting up a booth? Click on the link below for more information: