Pollok Perfects
Ancient Native American Technique

By William T. Hathaway

Bob Pollok's Arrowheads

Bob Pollok, a successful farmer and agricultural instructor in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, has perfected the art of modern flint knapping. The two arrowheads pictured here are just a couple of specimens from his collection of many Pollok-knapped stone-age tools, reminiscent of those made in times past by local Native Americans.

Flint is usually a gray fine-grained, hard, siliceous rock (containing quartz) that produces sparks when struck with steel. It also flakes into pieces with sharp cutting edges when fashioned by makers of stone tools. Genuine flint is associated with limestone deposits, but archeologists refer to the term “flint” as synonymous with the word “chert.”

Flint knapping is an ancient art that has evolved as man has evolved. Knappers begin by striking a chunk of flint, chert or other appropriate material with a hammerstone to remove large flakes. Pressure flaking is usually the next step by placing a pointed tool, such as a deer antler prong, on the edge of the stone and applying an inward pressure to the tool; small, thin flakes are removed, allowing the arrowhead or implement to be refined as desired by the tool maker.


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