Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 ~ Flint Knapping

It's the first Wednesday 
of the month ~ 
the day when members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and offer their encouragement
and support to other members.

To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are stepping up to help IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh are:
Nancy Gideon,  Tamara Narayan,  Liesbet@ Roaming AboutMichelle Wallaceand Feather Stone.  

I hope you have a chance to visit them and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate an encouraging comment!

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Every month the IWSG announces a question
that members can answer with advice, insight,
a personal experience, or story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members if they are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!!!
This month's IWSG featured question is:
What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

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I'm on the road again:  
This time in the Mojave Desert of Nevada and Arizona.
It's been a frustrating few weeks with way too many computer and connectivity issues.

Laughlin River Run Time
Aquarius, Laughlin, Nevada, USA
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

With regard to this month's IWSG question,
much of my writing throughout my life has been non-fiction
and centered on professional or academic pieces.

The weirdest and coolest thing I ever had to research was flint knapping
for a unit I wrote about the early people who lived in North America.

Flint knapping is the shaping of flint, or other stone
that fractures conchoidally, by striking it with a hammer stone
to produce edged cutting tools and weapons such as arrowheads.

At the time I was a volunteer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science,
and I had the opportunity to take a flint knapping workshop.

So, so cool! 
After a background lecture,
we watched a demonstration of flint knapping
by one of the museum's employees.

A Man Demonstrates Flint Knapping
(Not DMNS's)

Then we students struck flint with stone to produce sharp edges on our pieces of flint.
Finally we used our cutting tools to slice strips of meat off raw roasts.
Yes, it was weird, messy, bloody, and a little dangerous,
but it was beyond cool!

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is an excellent museum.
I've found it and other museums to be wonderful resources for writing research,
whether through taking courses or viewing exhibits.

My research would not have been complete
without a visit to one of my favorite exhibits in the museum:
The Folsom Point.

An Exciting Archeological Find
Stone Projectile with Bison Bones

This 1926 archeological find near Folsom, New Mexico,
proved that humans lived in North America
more than 10,000 years ago,  
hundreds of years earlier than previously thought.

Excavating the Folsom Site or Wild Horse Arroyo revealed
that it was marsh-side kill site or camp.  
It contained the remains of twenty-three extinct Late Pleistocene bison.

The Folsom Points,
found directly associated with the bison remains,  
were indisputably made by humans.  Wikipedia 

A Folsom Point
from the Folsom Site

When conducting research for writing,
it is one thing to read about a topic like flint knapping,
but to have the opportunities to experience flint knapping 
and to see a famous and consequential exhibit
related to flint knapping is irreplaceable.  

Happy writing in May!


  1. I've never heard of it. And you got to actually do it. How very cool.
    You travel to the greatest places.

    1. Thanks for mentioning that you had never heard of flint knapping, Alex. I've spent so much time in my past on stone tools from prehistory that it never occurred to me that someone might not be familiar with flint knapping. Duh! So I went back and added a brief explanation to my post. We had a blast in Laughlin during the river run, but now that the thousands of motorcycles have left it is quite quiet. Have a good one!

  2. That will be a valuable survival skill to have after Armageddon.

    1. Hi, Debra! I really don't want to survive Armageddon, thank you! The older I get, the more I love creature comforts. Have a good one, my friend!

  3. That workshop sounds so cool! If you ever time-travel, that skill might come in handy.

    1. Having tried flint knapping, I can tell you those early knappers were true artists!, Olga It is not easy. I've had the opportunity to examine many prehistoric tools, and they are beautiful. I would love to be able to time-travel. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sounds like a fun adventure. That is way cool.
    ' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    1. It was a fun adventure, Juneta! I love things like that! Have a good one!

  5. Very cool to be able to have that experience first hand - the best kind of research! Safe travels!

    1. There's nothing like hands-on experiences. They are the best for learning. Have a god one, Sandra!

  6. Sounds like a great time, Louise! Thank you so much for sharing your travels and experiences.

    1. Hi Linda! I'm just returning from your blog! I keep thinking about that wonderful, loving teacher in the video. It will help me go to sleep with warm and happy thoughts. Have a great day tomorrow, my special friend!

  7. I learnt a new term today, and what delicate and precise work to make a flint properly. Enjoy the day wherever you are.

    1. Hi, Jean! I'm glad that you and others have learned a little from my post. It's the teacher in me; she will always be there. I'm glad that Alex mentioned in his comment (first one) that he had never heard of flint knapping, and I was able to go back in to my post and add a brief definition. I'm sure we all have knowledge in our lives that we think everyone else knows too, but I guess creating prehistoric tools is not on everyone's radar.

      I was already scrounging the countryside at eight and nine looking for arrowheads with my brother. Our minds had been fired up by archeological and paleontological finds near Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, where we were living. What a fun, free age that was! When we weren't looking for dinosaur fossils or Indian arrowheads we were searching in "caves" along the shore for pirates treasure.

      When I was at Acadia, I had the amazing privilege and pleasure as a teaching assistant of assisting one of my professors with reorganizing the geology department's collection of paleolithic tools. They were exquisite, and I loved holding them in my hands and trying to imagine the person who crafted such beautiful implements.

      We're still in Laughlin today, but tomorrow we're off to Phoenix to visit friends. We'll be checking out the Phoenix area as a possible place to move to or rent in during the winter months. Then home!!! Via the Great Sand Dunes I hope, although I'm worried that once we leave Phoenix Terry will want to head for home like a horse racing for his barn.

      Sending you and Hugh love and hugs!

  8. How awesome! I'd never heard of it, and now I've learned something new today. :)

    1. Hi, Christine! I'm a retired teacher, so it always makes my day, when someone learns something from one of my posts! Have a great day!

  9. I think you're right - researching is great but being able to experience it takes it to a whole other level. But only if what you're researching is fun/interesting, etc. :)

    1. Definitely you want experiential research to be fun and interesting, Madeline! Have a good one!

  10. The inner mystery writer in me read that as Flint Kidnapping. Pass me another cup of coffee. Love all your wonderful photos!!!

    1. Your comment gave me a chuckle this morning, Jennifer! It's funny how our eyes and brains build patterns and meaning based on our perspectives. I'm glad that you enjoyed the photos. I can't seem to do a post without some. I'm drinking my welcome morning coffee now. I hope you enjoyed yours!

  11. You actually took a class on flint knapping? Okay, that's a lot more dedicated research than I've ever done. I'll bet it was fun though.

    1. Yes I did, Ken! I couldn't pass that up. It was great fun. I actually worked with the education department of DMNS quite a bit borrowing artifacts from their education collection to use in my classroom. My second and third grade students' all time favorite was the quarter billion year old coprolite ~ identified as Dimetrodon "poop." I got a kick out of passing it around for them to guess what it was and explaining that geologists and paleontologist often taste a sample to help identify certain qualities. Then I'd tell them it was fossil poop! LOL Sometimes I really miss my kiddos! Have a good one!

  12. You sure get around and around and around, traveling away haha Never even knew what flint knapping was, figured it was kid napping for a second lol I'd stay back and watch the whole messy meat part, my ocd would go nuts.

  13. Flint knapping? What an unusual word...never heard of it before.
    That first-hand experience of the process must have been quite amazing! you are so lucky.

  14. Flint knapping sounds so cool!!! What a great experience!! Big Hugs!

  15. I think the best and most fun research is where you can incorporate all of your senses! Practicing skills you are writing about or visiting places of your story - the immersion of it all - encourages good writing, I think. :-) Happy travels! Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.