Archaeology Day event to bring prehistoric technology to life

To mark International Archaeology Day, local expert Dan Long will teach the Brock and wider Niagara community all about flint knapping.

Since prehistoric times, humans have been using the process to create blades, knives and pointed tools like arrowheads from stone. Brock University’s Department of Classics and the Niagara Peninsula Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) will host a workshop on Saturday, Oct. 23 that demonstrates flint knapping and shares some of its history.

“From teaching about ancient technologies, I’ve learned that there is no substitute for watching a demonstration of the process,” says archaeologist and Brock Classics Professor Angus Smith, organizer of this year’s event.

“Reading or hearing about how stone tools were made is just not the same as watching the process unfold, from a raw lump of chert or flint to a finished point,” says Smith. “Dan Long is a master and tells a great story as he works.”

Long has been knapping since 1990 using local southern Ontario Onondaga chert, a type of stone used for tools in this area during prehistoric times. He also works with other stone types found in Canada and the U.S. to replicate early North American pointed tools and weapons using traditional tools and techniques. His toolkit includes moose antler and copper to flake and shape pieces of stone into useful and artistic tools.

“Dan, as a local flint knapper, will provide an interactive experience that will help those who attend better understand this ancient technology as well as how our local geology has been used to create useful tools in the past,” says Smith. “He makes beautiful objects like arrowheads that mimic forms made by Indigenous cultures and are works of art in their own right.”

The free flint knapping demonstration is suitable for all ages and will be held outside of Brock’s International Centre on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 3 p.m. Registration is required as part of COVID-19 protocols.

International Archaeology Day was established by the AIA to celebrate archaeology and its contributions to society. The day is celebrated on the third Sunday in October and is marked by in-person and online events throughout the month.

The Niagara Peninsula Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Department of Classics host free monthly lectures on archaeological subjects. Find details about upcoming talks on their website.

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