Walking in the path of our ancestors

I enjoy studying and learning the survival skills of our ancestors. For over 20 years, I have been making stone tools out of flint. I have found the hunt for flint to be nearly as hard as learning to produce the tools made using it.

It has been said that it takes an hour and 10 years to become an expert flint knapper. I agree with this statement. Learning to make tools out of stone that are equal to those of our ancestors is a task most would not endure. On top of education, you must be able to find usable material to work with. Of all the varieties of flint, chert or chalcedony. There are a few types of stone that were coveted by ancient people. One of which is Flint Ridge Chalcedony. I have spent many years chipping this material, and finally had a chance to visit its place of origin this past week. What an amazing trip it was!

There is little humor had between flint knappers. We are typically a pretty serious bunch when it comes to tool production. When I first started learning to produce stone tools, I met a master knapper. When asked how long it takes to produce blades of fine quality, he replied, “It takes an hour and 10 years to become a skilled knapper.”

Several years later I realized that this was a bit of knapping humor. It normally takes about an hour to produce a finely curated tool. The problem is, it takes most people about a decade to train their hands to do so.

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