Aspects of Lithic Technology of Brittle Stone


Robert J. Patten (1944-2017)

About the Author, with CV

About the Author

Knapping experience:

Bob Patten has knapped replicas for over fifty years, using tools of stone and antler. Bob demonstrates knapping during the last full weekend of September each year at the Loveland, Colorado Stone Age Fair. You may have seen Bob make a Clovis point in the NOVA video "The Search for the First Americans," first aired in 1990.


Bob uses archaeology to understand the process of chipping stone from a life-style vantage more than as a typical how-to approach. Each of his replicas is initialed and dated with a diamond scribe. Collectors don't want to be fooled and we modern craftsmen should be proud of our creation.

Academic background:

Bob studied civil engineering and did topographic mapping for the U.S. Geological Survey before he retired. Now he lives in Lakewood, Colorado and indulges his passion for flaking stone. Before writing "Old Tools—New Eyes" and "Peoples of the Flute", Bob wrote many articles for various newsletters.

The Society for American Archaeology honored Bob with the Crabtree Award in 2004 "For his tireless efforts over the past 40 years to teach ancient stone-stool technologies to professional and avocational archaeologists, and for his flint-knapping experiments, which have led to major insights into Paleoindian technologies and lifeways."


While Bob makes credible replicas of Folsom fluted projectile points, he still works with other researchers to refine the process. He emphasizes reconstructing knapping processes used by Paleo-Indians of the High Plains, but is interested in all chipped stone. In particular, Bob applies his knowledge of lithic technology to archaeological interpretation.

Current project:

I am writing a new book that details the development of Mesoamerican astronomy, math, calendars and standard measurements. The story begins at least 6,600 years ago in Northern Louisiana. Maya eccentrics chipped in chert record significant numbers by lineal dimensions.


1978Cushioned Percussion. Flintknappers Exchange 1(1):5-6.
1978The Denver Series Point #14: Eden. Flintknappers Exchange 1(1):18-20.
1978        The Denver Series Point #3: Fluted Sandia. Flintknappers Exchange 1(2):28-29.
1978The Denver Series Point #7: Hell Gap. Flintknappers Exchange 1(3):29.
1978"Push" vs "Pull" Flaking. Lithic Technology 7(1):3-4.
1979The Denver Series Point #17: Browns Valley Point. Flintknappers Exchange 2(1):17-18.
1979         Denver Series Point #34:Blackwater Draw Clovis. Flintknapper's Exchange 2(2):5-6.
1979          Denver Series Point #5: Folsom Point. Flintknapper's Exchange 2(2):16.
1980          Soft Stone Hammer Percussion. Flintknapper's Exchange 3(1):17.
1980         Folsom Staging: A Speculative Approach. Flintknapper's Exchange 3(2):7-10.
1981         Comments on Channel Flake Removal. Flintknapper's Exchange 4(1):7.
1981         Review of Hardaker's Taxonomy. Flintknapper's Exchange 4(1):12.
1983         Trihedral Points. Contract Abstracts 3(2):156.
1984         (Stanford, Dennis; Patten, Robert) R-6, a Preliminary Report of a Cody Site in North-Central New Mexico. In Papers of the Philmont Conference on the Archaeology of Northeastern New Mexico, Carol J. Condie Ed., 6(1):188-199.
1999          Old Tools-New Eyes: A Primal Primer of Flintknapping. Stone Dagger Publications, Denver.
2002         Solving the Folsom Fluting Problem. In Folsom Technology and Lifeways, Clark, JE; Collins, M.B., editors., pp. 421-451. Special publication 4, Lithic Technology.
2005         Peoples of the Flute: A study in anthropolithic forensics. Stone Dagger Publications, Denver.
2007         (Shott, Michael; Patten, Robert; Hunzinger, David) Pattern and Allometric Measurement of Reduction in Experimental Folsom Bifaces. Lithic Technology 32(2):203-217.
2007         Parsing Folsom Rock. Lithic Technology 32(1):69-78
2008         The Making of Folsom Points. Prehistoric American XLI(4):28-29.
2008         (Holen, Steve; Muniz, Mark; Patten, Robert) The Angus Nebraska Fluted Point: A Comment on Howard's Authentication Results. Plains Anthropologist. 53(207):357-356.
2009         Old Tools-New Eyes: A Primal Primer of Flintknapping, Second edition, Stone Dagger Publications, Denver.
2012         Explaining the Temporal Change in Artifacts by the Use of Process Controls. Lithic Technology 37(1):25-34.
2013        (Eren, Metin; Patten, Robert; O'Brien, Michael; Meltzer, David) Refuting the technological cornerstone of the Ice-Age Atlantic crossing hypothesis. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(2934-2941).
2014          (Eren, Metin; Patten, Robert; O'Brien, Michael J.; Meltzer, David J.) More on the Rumor of "Intentional Overshot Flaking" and the Purported Ice-Age Atlantic Crossing. Lithic Technology 39(1):55-63.
2015          Indexing Flakes According to their Mode of Creation. Journal of Lithic Studies Vol 2#1:97-107.
2015        Watts Clovis Cache, Larimer County, Colorado. in Southwestern Lore, Vol 81, #2&3.
2015      (Eren, Metin; Lycett, Stephen; Patten, Robert; Buchanan, Briggs; Pargetter, Justin; O'Brien, Michael) Test, Model, and Method Validation: The Role of Experimental Stone Artifact Replication in Hypothesis-driven Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological, Ethnographic and Experimental Studies, Vol 8(2):103-136.

1999          Evaluating Methods of Folsom Fluting. Paper presented at the Folsom Workshop Conference, Austin, TX
2000Solving the Folsom Fluting Problem. Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archaeology.
2001          Making Folsom Fluted Points.  Pioneer Museum, Ft. Collins, CO.
2002Investing in a Lithic Economy.  Colorado Archeological Society, Boulder, CO.
2003         The Watts Clovis Cache. Colorado Archeological Society, Ft. Collins, CO.
2005          Parsing Folsom Rock. SAA meeting in Salt Lake City, UT.
2006          Process Controls: The power behind the throne of typology. SAA meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.                    

1970          Knapping Instruction. Filmed by Colorado State University, CO., Department of Anthropology.
1990          Search for the First Americans. Clovis replication filmed by BBC Horizons, shown by NOVA.
1999          Nickels' Worth. Filmed by Denver's Channel 9 TV
2001          The Lindenmeier Site. Folsom replication filmed by the Smithsonian for the State of Colorado.

2016        Making North America: Human shown by NOVA

2004          Crabtree Award. Presented by Society for American Archaeology