Exploring the concept and practice of ‘overshot’ flaking

This point was reduced in the same way as the previous example, using a heavy-ish soft hammer. Once it was approximately the right shape I started using my pressure flaker to isolate protruding points. Isolating the protuberances weakens them, whilst at the same time improving the chances that all the energy from the blow will be absorbed by that small area. The result is an increased chance that the blow will take off a longer flake. On the photo below I wanted to attack the ceramic gloss surface to the left of upper centre.


After isolating the platform I took off a good flake that travelled half way across the face and removed a significant portion of the gloss surface. The method works, as I knew it would but the angle of the surface is also a factor that needs consideration.


The process here is the same as the one John Lord introduced me to when making a handaxe. Essentially you use the abrading stone or pressure flaker to sculpt the ideal platform so that all the energy from the hit is concentrated in one place. What this means in effect is that each platform has to be systematically sculpted before each blow. For me this means two things: firstly I need to be more systematic and less intuitive in my reduction process; secondly I need a really good and finely shaped abrading stone to really pick out the platforms.


This is the finished artefact and the better of the two faces. As you can see, one of the removals has travelled two thirds of the way across. That in many ways is an ideal removal as it has changed the angle of the face. I think that is the process in essence, deep removals that reduce the thickness of the piece, and by default the angle of the face. The overshot flaking I think is an earlier stage phenomenon that, when using flint tablets, allows you to get to the thinned stage that I am starting at. I wonder if the results of overshot flaking leave a face that is easier to flake than this artificially tabular bathroom material. I need to do a few more, and generate some more data. I can then move onto flint and compare and contrast. So expect a few more of these.

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