Bought this as a birthday present for a friend who has just started taking an interest in this subject. He absolutely loves the book and is always telling me it has all the reference information he needs.
When you consider what an important subject, archaeologically, the study of prehistoric lithic technology is, it's amazing that there isn't another comparable handbook available. The reason, I suspect is that very few people have acquired such detailed knowledge of the subject from a practical point of view.
Chris Butler is a Member of the Institute of Field Archaeologists and a lecturer at the University of Sussex. He is an expert on flint implements, especially in South East England.
His book is a practical manual and the best I know for learning about and identifying flint tools. I unhesitatingly recommend it as the one book that everyone interested in studying or collecting stone age flint tools should have.
There are individual chapters on the human use of flint, tool types commonly encountered in the field, then chapters on the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, detailing the flint tools and weapons characteristic of each. The Neolithic warrant three chapters.
There is also an important final chapter on analysing flint tools, which points out that many archaeologists are still sceptical about using flint as a dating tool. The merest scrap of pottery will be examined in minute detail and made the centre of excavation reports, while flint - which tends to survive very well - is given second place partly because of its abundance and hence its commonplace nature.
`It's only in recent years,' says Butler, `that the study of debitage and manufacturing technologies has meant that lithic specialists have been able to provide much more information. Other archaeologists have not yet caught onto this, and thus flintwork remains the poor relation.'
This book goes a long way to redress that imbalance and should be required reading for every archaeology student.
A must read and study for any one involved in archaeology. This book was purchased and given to me as a present seven years ago, my copy is now very much worn. Such a brilliant guide, I use it all of the time.