The public is invited to the Bi-Annual Flintknapping Workshop to be held at the Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park in Manchester, TN, on Saturday, September the 28th. Activities will begin Friday afternoon and continue until Sunday morning however the public is particularly invited to attend all through the day on Saturday when most activities will take place and the most flintknappers will be present.
In addition to the flintknapping activities, aboriginal technologies such as the “atlatl” or spear throwing stick will be on display and, at times demonstrated. During the day on Saturday an atlatl competition will be held for qualified participants. This is not so much a competition as it is an opportunity for sharing ideas about atlatl construction and technique and to compare your score with other atlatl users.
“Flintknapping” is the ancient process of creating stone tools by “reduction” using stone and antler tools to chip and flake away pieces of a stone to produce a well-crafted and functional spear point, knife, or other such tool. The material used for stone tool manufacture, including chert (a flint-like stone), obsidian, and chalcedony, fracture like glass when struck. This technique was brought to North America more than 12,000 years ago by the first Americans, Ice Age hunters from Siberia, and remained the principal means of tool manufacture in North America until the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s. “Arrowheads,” as stone tools are commonly called, are amazingly diverse and culture-specific, and therefore can be used by archaeologist to identify the age and cultural affiliation of an archaeological site.
Flintknappers from across the United States will gather on the roof deck of the Old Stone Fort Museum for a full day of “knapping” and public demonstration. Flintknapping is a skilled craft, and many “world-class” knappers will be on site. Flintknapping supplies and materials will be available for purchase for both beginning and experienced knappers.
This event is free of charge, and the majority of activities will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, with the park closing at sunset. The Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park is located just north of Manchester, TN, off Highway 41 and just off exit 105 off Interstate 24. The park features a 1 ¼ mile trail around the 2,000 year old Native American ceremonial enclosure known as the Old Stone Fort, a museum, a picnic area with grills and tables, and a campground with full RV hookups and bathing facilities.
For more information, contact:
Josh Waggener, Park Ranger
732 Stone Fort Drive
Manchester, TN 37355