Different Types of Stone Tools
Flaked Stone Tools
Making flaked stone tools, or “flint knapping”, is an art that requires skill and knowledge. Tool manufacture can be as simple as throwing one rock at another to break off a few chunks and expose a sharp edge or as complicated as using precise and subtle pressure to remove long flakes a millimetre thin.
All techniques, whether simple or more sophisticated, are based on the same principal. When one object strikes another, waves of force project from the point of impact in a cone shape. The depression where the flake used to be is called a flake scar. In archaeology, we aptly call the rock used for striking a “hammerstone”, while the rock being struck is a “core”. While anything can be used as a hammerstone, it is more successful if your hammerstone’s material is harder than that of your core. Granite or quartzite river cobbles are found along almost every Lower Mainland river and have been used as hammerstones throughout time.
Pecked Stone Tools
The pecked stone technique involves using a hammerstone to pound the object in to the desired shape. Like flaking, the hammerstone must be of a denser material than the stone being worked, or else it may be pecked instead of the object! The knowledge and skill of past craftsmen was immense, and is reflected in the beautiful and often complex designs found along the Northwest Coast.
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Ground Stone Tools
Like pecking, grinding is a lengthy process where the craftsman rubs an abrasive stone, such as sandstone, against the blank, slowly shaping the object in to the desired form. Grinding can be used either as a production technique on its own, following the basic shape formed by flaking, or as a finishing step to pecked objects, resulting in an impressive polish. Ground stone knives and points also required occasional sharpening by running the object through an incised slit in an abrasive stone.