KENT-AA1B15: Gunflint blank?

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-AA1B15

Object type certainty: Probably
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A complete knapped probable gunflint blank from which gunflints for flintlock muskets of Post-Medieval date, c.AD 1600 - 1900, could be produced.

Description: The flint is broadly rectangular in plan and resembles a stretched pillow shaped gunflint. with tapering sides and a trapezoidal cross-section. There is significant conchoidal rippling on the ventral side. The flint is dark grey with some mottled lighter areas. A probable accidental flake has been removed from the top edge.

Measurements: 85.73mm long, 32.6mm wide, 11.22mm thick and 38.77g in weight.

Discussion: This object very much resembles a gunflint if it had been stretched and is likely a blank for the production of spare gunflints. The rough shape of a gunflint in cross-section is already present, new gunflints would be snapped off its length and then finished. An identical example is shown in Oakley (1978, fig. 10b). Jason Gibbons (pers. comms.) has also pointed to a number of examples recently recovered from the Thetford area that very much resemble this example. A 19th century publication discussing the gunflint industry written by Sydney Sketchley in 1879, would support the identification but does also note the links between later prehistoric lithic industry and the gunflint industry which may mean some cautioun is needed with the ID. One thing noted by all is that often Gunflint blanks known seem to exhibit steel or iron stianing from the metal tools used on them particularly on their striking platforms which was not initially identified on this example..

The flintlock was introduced in the middle of the 16th century and became the main regulation firearm for the British Army during the reign of William III. The knapped flint was used within the musket mechanism to produce a spark and could last between 20-25 shots before it had to be replaced.

A gunflint which would have been produced from a similar blank has been recorded as WILT-0B6F58 which states that "there is no documentary evidence for when or where sparks from flint were first used to fire gunpowder, but flintlock guns were being used in France from about 1600. There is a written record of an order received by London gunsmiths in 1661 to provide 15,000 'flintstones cutt' for the garrisons in Tangier and Ireland. This gunflint may have been associated with the local activity during the Civil War, but they continued being used into the19th century, especially during the Napoleonic Wars"


We thank Drs. Jonthan Ferguson, Torben Bjarke Ballin and Mr. Jason Gibbons for further information and their thoughts on this object.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: Blank

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1600
Date to: Circa AD 1900

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 85.73 mm
Width: 32.6 mm
Thickness: 11.22 mm
Weight: 38.77 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Identified by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Secondary identifier: Dr Kevin Leahy

Materials and construction

Primary material: Flint
Manufacture method: Knapped/flaked
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Dover (District)
Parish or ward: Denton with Wootton (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TR2247
Four figure Latitude: 51.17911132
Four figure longitude: 1.17487996
1:25K map: TR2247
1:10K map: TR24NW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: 6 months ago
Updated: 24 days ago

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