Flint axe

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A flint axe was a Flint tool used during prehistoric times to perform a variety of tasks. These were at first just a cut piece of flint stone used as a hand axe but later wooden handles were attached to these axe heads. The stone exhibits a glass-like fracture similar to obsidian, and can be knapped to form large blades. The offcuts were sharp enough to be used a small flint knives, while the larger parts of a knapped nodule could be polished to form an axe-head. They were widely used during the Neolithic period to clear forests for early farming. They competed with other hard rocks such as greenstone, which were produced at Langdale in the British Lake District and got larger as working continued.

Late Stone Age flint axe, about 31 cm long

The polished axes were used directly to cut timber across the grain, but some types (known as a Splitting maul) were designed to split wood along the grain. They tend to be larger and heavier than the simple axes, and are sometimes known as axe-hammers.


Flint nodules are commonly found in Cretaceous chalk deposits, such as those of southern Britain and every where but France. They were mined during the Neolithic period in many locations, one of the most famous being at Grimes Graves in Norfolk, England.