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Reproducing a Heart-Shaped Arrowhead from Ancient Greece

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Here’s an instructional video that is practical, in that it creates a functional heart-shaped arrowhead, but it also serves as a lesson in ancient history.

Shawn Woods has worked with a lot of unusual arrowhead materials lately (for example, toilet porcelain, old bottles, bronze). This time he knaps a common stone arrowhead material, but the object he’s working on is over 3,500 years old. He’s reproducing a heart shaped arrowhead that was used by the Ancient Greeks around 1,550BC.

The material Woods is working with is volcanic obsidian. He’ll also be using natural tools to shape the obsidian: leather pad, antler billet, deer antler pressure flaker, Otzi style pressure flaker modeled after Otzi the Iceman‘s 5,000 year old pressure flaker, and hammerstones.

He examines the obsidian for ridges and weak spots where a flake might come off cleanly by striking it with a hammerstone. Once he removes a chunk of the material you can really see just how beautiful this volcanic glass is on the inside. It’s a gorgeous deep, dark brown-black color.

Woods does his due diligence in researching his reproductions of old original and ancient weapons, and in the process he learns quite a bit about the cultures that made these objects.

For this arrowhead component of ancient Greek archery he studied the website “The Greek Age of Bronze” archery section, which documents the development and advancement of Greek archery from the more primitive stone age period on into the bronze era.

There are plenty of images on the site, including ones that show the exact arrowhead that Woods is reproducing here. This is hands-on history, which is a wonderful way to learn and practice the craft of flintknapping at the same time.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Make a Glass Bottle Arrowhead: “Forbidden by Federal Law

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Reproducing a Heart-Shaped Arrowhead from Ancient Greece