Flint scraper, Palaeolithic

Flint scraper (Palaeolithic), Barbican House Museum, LewesThis is a Palaeolithic flint scraper, found on the Downs at Whitehawk, near Brighton. It was used for scraping and cleaning animal hides.

Before people in Britain learned how to smelt metal, they made the tools they needed from the material they found in the world around them. These included wood, animal skins, grasses, bone, flint and other stone. Of these, only flint, stone and a little bone survive today. The other material decayed long ago.

Flint is a form of hard stone called quartz. It flakes easily, so it can be chipped into a variety of shapes and sizes. This is called knapping.

You can see how small flakes have been chipped from the Whitehawk scraper to create a sharp edge. Flint was also used to make tools for cutting and chopping, as well as scraping.

See how to:

Knap flint with an antler bone

Scrape an animal skin with flint