Stone Flaking Techniques

Stone-flaking involves removing small pieces of stone, called flakes, from a larger piece of stone, called the core.  An array of different techniques were developed by stoneworkers at various times and places to achieve their aims. 

The force required to induce fracture could be delivered dynamically or statically.  Dynamic flaking techniques involve delivering force by striking the core with a hammer.  This is accomplished by striking the core directly (direct percussion) or by striking an intervening punch (indirect percussion).  Pressure flaking is a static technique, where force is delivered by pressing a tool against the stone until it fractures.

Pecking is a dynamic technique where the surface of the stone is struck, which pulverises a minute portion of the stone at the point of impact.  Flakes are not detached by flaking, but the technique is sometimes used to incrementally shape hard stones.  Grinding is another dynamic technique where stone is shaped by abrading it against another stone.

The toolmaker could either flake the core into the tool they wanted or they could shape the core in such a way that the flake removed from it had the properties that they were after.  French researchers call the first option façonnage, and the second option debitage.  In many technologies, flake blanks for tools were produced by debitage and then shaped by façonnage.