Flint implements

Measurements and terms for lithics

Flint implements come in various forms, and can be difficult to identify. The main recognisable types are arrowheads, scrapers, axes, blades and flakes. Please use these in the object type field.

Stone tools were in use from the Palaeolithic through to the Bronze Age. Flint occurs naturally, and pieces that have been struck by machinery or other stones can look like worked tools, so be careful. If the flint does not look like one of the tools above, but you think it has been worked by man there are some key characteristics to look for.

  • A bulb of percussion - this is a smooth rounded knob at one end where the flint has been struck away from the main piece. You may also see concentric ripples from this point.
  • Retouching on the edges - this is where the tool has been sharpened or blunted for use. It looks like the flint has been nibbled on the edge.
  • Ventral surface - the face that has broken away from the core, as is usually smooth with ripple marks.
  • Dorsal surface - the outer face that can show the exterior of the rock or the previous flake removal.

Describe the shape of the flint tool including the cross-section, whether it has been worked on both sides or just one, the colour and opaqueness of the flint, and whether you think it is complete. If you are going to have a go at describing flint, it is best to have a look at other records to get used to the terminology.

Example Description

A complete Mesolithic flint blade. The blade is trapezoidal in shape and has a curved, thin profile. The ventral face has a bulb of percussion with concentric ripples. The dorsal face has a pointed rise just to the right of the centre. There is retouching along the left hand side only on one face. The flint is a blue grey colour, and is not very opaque. It is 23mm long, 12mm wide and 8mm thick. It weighs 6g.

Example records