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Flint knapping with the Young Archaeologists

Posted on: 1st March 2016 By: Nellie Machling

The St Albans and District Young Archaeologists' Club is based at Verulamium Museum and usually meets once a month.
Nellie (aged 10), one of its members shares what they got up to at their last meeting. . .

"In February we were lucky to have James Dilley come to YAC. James is an expert flint knapper and visits schools and museums. He works with glass and flint and he specialises in handaxes. James was a member of YAC when he was younger.
First, James talked about how he got into knapping and gave a brief summary about what he was going to do in the session. Then he showed us his flint creations and what they were before he started work on them.
After that James called me up to demonstrate how they made fire in the prehistoric times. I really enjoyed he showed me how to make fire by spinning a wooden drill into wood to create friction and, hopefully, fire. Next he started a flint handaxe and chipped away at it so much that it was nearly half the size it was when he started.
Then James worked on a glass handaxe and successfully completed it, despite the fact the glass snapped in half at the beginning. He told us that the flakes might have been used for knives.
I particularly liked seeing him make the glass and flint handaxes.  It was fun seeing all of the beautifully made tools. Thank you to James for such a brilliant YAC session."


St Albans and District Young Archaeologists' Club (YAC) is open to everyone aged 8–16 years. YAC clubs get involved in all sorts of activities, including visiting and investigating archaeological sites and historic places, trying out traditional crafts, taking part in excavations, and lots more.
A team of volunteers runs the club: if you want to know more about how they recruit YAC volunteers and make sure children at YAC clubs are well looked after, check out the FAQs on their main website or visit 
If you’d like to get in touch with St Albans and District YAC, please contact Brian Adams or Tess Machling on