Artifact of the Week: Flakes

Stone tools, or lithics, are the most common artifacts found at local prehistoric sites. There are two general lithic tool classifications in San Diego County: chipped stone and ground stone. The flakes above are examples of chipped stone.

The best material for making chipped stone lithic tools are rocks that have a smooth consistency. In order to make a chipped stone tool, flakes are chipped off the base rock, called the core. This process is called knapping.

Flakes are not just byproducts of knappping. Almost any flake can be used as a cutting tool, as they can be very sharp. Sometimes flakes were modified for other purposes, such as making very fine cuts or smoothing a spear shaft.

Date: San Dieguito Complex (10,000 ya – 7,500 ya)
Material Class: Lithics – Chipped Stone