Flintknapping is the process used to turn lumps and nodules of Flint into functional objects, usually tools. Flintknapping has been used by humans for around two or three million years.
Flintknapping at its most basic level involved striking a piece of Flint with a stone or other object to remove flakes. Typically, these flakes will possess very fine cutting edges, in some cases only a few molecules thick. Flakes can be used as is, or further refined via retouching to create specific tools, such as bifaces, burins, scrapers, spear/arrow points, axes, adzes, knives and many other objects.
Additionally, the process of flintknapping can be carried out on other stones/minerals with similar physical properties; such as, Chert, Obsidian, Glass, Jasper, Agate, etc..
There are a limited number of basic flintknapping techniques.
Hard-hammer percussion involves striking the flint directly with another hard, heavy object, such as stone or copper.
The process of soft-hammer percussion is almost identical to hard-hammer percussion except the hammer used is made of a softer, more shock-absorbent material, such as antler or bone. Soft-hammer percussion will typically produce longer flakes.
Indirect percussion utilities a punch, made from antler, wood, bone, metal, or some other material. The punch is struck with a soft or hard hammer. The advantage of indirect percussion is that the punch can be placed on the striking platform very accurately, so the point of contact and the direction of force can be controlled. Flakes produced this way often have characteristics which differentiate them from flakes produced by direct percussion.
Pressure flaking involves using a pointed object to produce flakes by applying pressure directly to the platform. The force is applied without the use of a hammer and relies on the strength of the flintknapper. Pressure flaking is a process used mainly for retouching, or finer work after the basic shape of the object had been flaked through other means. Among other things, pressure flaking is suitable for producing long flakes and fine, detailed work.