Hi I’m James, I am here at the Neolithic
houses at Stonehenge and I’m about to attempt to make a Neolithic axe head. I’ve got this large piece of flint here.
So the first point I’m going to strike is here. The flint that I’m using is around
about 80 to 90 million years old. You get flint from the whole area around here under
Stonehenge and you get it across north Norfolk in a band all the way through to Dorset. Now it looks very different, it’s much lighter,
there’s a lot less of that waste material in the skin of the flint. It’s starting
to take on a bit of a lens profile to it with this consistent cutting margin all the way
around and these are those edges that I’m going to use to start to take even more flakes
off and help me refine this pre-formed blank into a longer, thinner axe head. I’m just working on refining the butt or
back of the axe and this is where it will go into the wooden handle. So I need to make
it quite even so it has a good fit into the wooden haft. In some cases, I can predict the rough shape
and size of the flake before I strike it. So as you’ll see I’m working on one side
and the flakes are coming off the bottom so you’re almost working blind. You have to
go with that confidence that the material will stick to its mechanical principles and
will flake off in a certain way. The flint is made up of silica that would
have been secreted by tiny organisms that would have knocked around along the sea floor.
That would have been compressed into this rock that we have today. So I think this is
about there now, this is ready to be ground and finished into that really nice polished
surface that you often see on Neolithic axes in museums. And this is an example of a finished polished
flint axe head. This will have taken about 60 hours’ worth of work to get it to this
kind of stage. It really is a beautiful piece of work as well as being a really good functional
tool for cutting down trees and woodworking. It will fit into a handle or haft, a bit like
this. And there it is – a Neolithic axe.