Veteran flintknapper Richard Poirier has been practicing the art of flintknapping for over 30 years. In a talk hosted by the Greene-Dreher Historical Society at Promised Land State Park on July 24, Rich demonstrated to an audience of 40, including many children, how projectile points were made by indigenous people many thousands of years ago. Working with a variety of materials, including the rare Variegated Jaspar from Berks County, Rich demonstrated how to use percussion flaking techniques to reduce raw stone to produce sharp projectile points or tools, such as spear points and arrowheads. Rich talked about the different point types from east of the Mississippi, such as the Susquehanna Broad, Oriental Fishtail, Dog Leg Bevel, and Fractured Base Point, and demonstrated the precision skills that went into making each of these specialized points.Audience members were interested in examining and comparing both new and historic points found in the Upper Delaware River Valley and dating from 2,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Native people produced the finest flint and jasper projectiles and blades in the world. These pre-historic artists are the inspiration for modern day flintknappers, like himself. Rich also explained the atlatl, a specialized hunting tool developed during the Archaic Period, and demonstrate its use. Richard Poirier is a member of Flintknappers.com, a group of highly skilled flintknappers that specialize in replicating stone tools and creating lithic art.