The 18th and 19th of September were the Jours du Patrimoine or French Heritage Open Days.
We visited a number of events, but were eager to catch the flint-knapping demonstration in the ground of the Chateau at Le Grand-Pressigny.
Having struggled from the square up to the Chateau we rested a moment [I think even fit soldiers would have found it impossible to fight once they'd arrived at the castle gates up that slope!]
The demonstration was worth the climb though... the knapper, Frédéric Demouche, the Museum of Pre-history's public events demonstrator, was very informative, explaining things like why he was changing the position of the face he was striking; what tool he was using and why; what the tools were made from; how the tools were used; etc.
He took a large flat piece of flint and deftly formed it into a large, but demonstrably servicable, hand axe, in what he described as the Cro-Magnon style.
|The original slab.... Here he is showing why he is about to attack the upper face.|
|And off comes a 'slice' of silex.|
|Another shower of flint particles to show that a flintknapper has been at work here.|
|Having formed the rough shape he then used Red Deer and Elk Antler tools to refine the shape.|
The Red Deer tool is on the left, the Elk antler tools are the large cream ones on the right.
|Here he's using the Elk antler hammer to refine the edge|
|And here is his finished axe!|
This was followed by showing how a large core could be used to supply almost equal size and shaped flakes... one of which he repidly converted into a scraper to work hide...using it on the goat skin on his lap.
|The scraper is on the left.... the other flakes are....|
|....just part of the stone-age hunters worplace. A couple more large flakes to make into scrapers.... |
a few cores, a hammer stone, a couple of spear throwers [one almost finished]
.... and plenty of small flakes!
He then went on to show how a small core would be carried by a hunter and used to make scrapers, burins and flakes to set at spear point using resin.
|Holding the small core in his right hand, he showed us a spear point with resin set flakes.|
Finally he covered spears and spear throwing using a throwing stick to extend the power of the elbow.... and then demonstrated how in the castle moat!
Altogether a very good three-quarter hours worth.... and like most of the other Patrimoine events, absolutely free.