Stone Type: Flint

Flint Scottsbluff 1

Flint occurs as nodules or seams in chalk. It is a folk classification within the general category of chert.  Chert nodules form when tiny organisms extract pure silica from ocean water and use it as body armour or skeletons.  When the organisms die, their skeletons dissolve and form a siliceous ooze, which eventually precipitates, coalesces, and recrystallises as the surrounding limestone rock is formed.  When the material precipitates into hollows such as crustacean or mollusc burrows, nodules are formed.  Fine-grained varieties of chert are some of the best stones for flintknapping because of the exceptionally high silica content.

Levallois flake France

Levallois Flake

Tranchet axe, Denmark

Flake Axe

Handaxe UK, Iver AIA

Acheulean Handaxe

Flake, Sheddon Hill UK, AIA


Retouched flake gull wing UK AIA

Retouched Flake

Blade, Thetford England AIA


Flake, Biddenham AIA


Retouched flake, England, AIA

Retouched Flake

End scraper, Kent, AIA

End Scraper

Ukraine SP core Oleksandr

Single Platform Core

Ukraine cobble core Oleksandr


Ukraine flake Oleksandr


Arrowhead, England, AIA

Barbed and Tanged Arrowhead

Arrowhead Ireland AIA

Barbed and Tanged Arrowhead

Axe in modern haft, Denmark

Hafted Stone Axe, reconstructed

Axe France AIA Seine

Stone Axe

Thin-butted axe, AIA, Denmark

Thin-Butted Axe

Handaxe UK, giant ficron 2023

Acheulean Handaxe

Eolith AIA 1

Eolith Piece

Handaxe AIA ambiguous label

Acheulean Handaxe

The term ‘flint’ is often used interchangeably with chert in popular descriptions of stone tool-making.  To further complicate the use of the term, some geologists use ‘flint’ to classify any dark grey to black chert, regardless of whether it derives from chalk deposits.  Further, many European-trained archaeologists distinguish chert from flint based on quality, with ‘flint’ referring to the most siliceous variants and more grainy (and usually light-coloured) variants referred to as ‘chert’.  Flint that occurs as nodules in chalk is coloured dark or medium grey, black, brown, reddish-brown, or off-white grey.