Touraine - from then until now!

This blog is an attempt to show some of the vast history of Man's prescence in the Southern Touraine.... from first footfall to the present....
especially in and around le Grand Pressigny area.... with special emphasis on life at and around le Moulin de la Forge.
There will also be occasional entries about time before man was here and when the area was at the bottom of a warm, shallow sea...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Taillé du Silex

Or flint-knapping to us...
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.


Anonymous said...

Great series of photographs, well done.
You might also be interested to know that I'm starting a Social History of the Touraine blog
I'll add your site as a link if I may.
Kind regards,
Jim McNeill

Tim said...

With pleasure Jim, thanks... and don't forget to look at our other site Aigronne Valley Wildlife which is about the local natural history... as is Loire Valley Nature by the authors of Days on the Claise which itself has quite a lot of social history mentioned, but not highlighted as such.

Brett Martin, I can see elephants. said...

Nice flint-knapping skills.
Like prehistoric artwork maybe?
flint tool art, found by me.