Knife Making

Video: Making Ötzi the Iceman’s flint knife

I have always been fascinated by stone tools. I studied archaeology in college and graduate school, and even had the opportunity to dig for hominid bones and stone tools Kenya’s Rift Valley.

My interest does not translate to skill however. On a good day I can make it into the Mesolithic, crafting chunky Acheulean hand-axes and the like. I have never managed to replicate the elegant lines of a neolithic tool.

Shawn Woods runs a YouTube channel that focuses on primitive tools and techniques, especially archery hunting. In the above video, he makes a replica of the knife carried by Ötzi’s the Iceman, whose mummified remains were discovered in a melting glacier in the Alps. He has previously crafted a replica of Ötzi’s copper axe (below the jump).

From WideOpenSpaces:

“The materials and tools Woods uses to duplicate Ötzi’s dagger are as close to the original as can be achieved, and the methods he uses as accurate as can be reasonably assumed. What I especially like is Woods’ commitment to accuracy in the dimensions of the original, while also embracing an attitude of logical assumption and “spirit of the original”.

For example, Woods shapes the flint blade into what he believes the original blade looked like before the tip was broken, which is the state in which the dagger was recovered. His explanation of Ötzi’s pressure flaker is especially interesting, as is his argument debating the actual identification and function of the object.”

I really enjoy how he goes into such detail both on the crafting and function of the tools. I found the explanation of the retoucher to be particularly interesting. It is more common to find a complete piece of antler rather than a hafted tool. Cool stuff.

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