HMS students observe knapping as part of Kansas History

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Gary Schuler of Marion demonstrated the ancient craft of knapping to Leonard Coryea?s seventh-grade Kansas History students at Hillsboro Middle School class Thursday. Knapping, which comes from a German word meaning ?to break off or nibble,? is the process of shaping flint, chert, obsidian and other conchoidal fracturing stone into tools such as knives, spearheads and arrowheads. After retiring in November 2008 as a conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Schuler and wife Mary created Soaring Stone Artistry, which produces stone-knapped items for purchase (soaringstone.com). They also present educational programs for schools, camps and other groups. Schuler told HMS students that knapping goes back at least 12,000 years to the Clovis culture of the Ice Age, and was widely used by Native Americans for centuries. He showed examples of flint-knapped tools and weaponry from the past, and used shaping tools (called billetts) made of rock, antler and copper to demonstrate how razor-sharp tools and weapons were made. Any group interested in scheduling an educational program about knapping can call Schuler at 785-313-2940.

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