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In this chapter you have learned about the wide range of ancient technology. You also learned that archaeologists have a number of methodologies available to them in studying the technological abilities of ancient peoples. They can look at an artifact under a microscope, but they can also skin a deer carcass with a stone tool produced by modern flint knapping.

This combination of laboratory science and practical experimentation can help us recreate an ancient toolkit, and may bring researchers closer to past technologies that have since been lost.

For this exercise, search the video sharing website YouTube for the tag "flint knapping". You should get several hundred results. Watch a few of these videos and, with the help of your textbook, answer the following questions about experimental archaeology.


What supplies do the knappers in the videos use to produce stone tools? Why do you think they work with leather on their laps?


What type of stone did the knappers select for their tools in the videos you watched? Did you see them use any alternative or modern materials?


How have experiments into ancient flint knapping expanded our understanding of ancient tool making technology?


Can we be certain that modern flint knapping techniques are the same as those used in the past?


If what you saw in these videos interests you, do a general internet search for flint knapping. Flint knappers around the country offer introductory tool-making courses and sell instructional DVDs. There are also many armature and academic flint-knapping societies that meet to share techniques and discuss other aspects of experimental archaeology. See if there are any at your college or in your area.

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