is a process by which an artifact
, often bone
, metal, or stone
is attached to a handle or strap. This makes the artifact more
useful by allowing it to be fired (as in the case of an arrowhead
), thrown (as a spear
), or leveraged more effectively (as an axe
Hafting is perhaps best known for its use by prehistoric man
, but it is still practiced
by enthusiasts today.
The hafting process
There must be some way to attach the artifact to the strap or
shaft, and to this end, flanges
created on one end (the end opposite the cutting edge). Flanges are
produced by a process of knapping
the excess stone away,
resulting in indentations in the piece.
If a shaft or handle is to be used, it must also be prepared in
some way. The wood
or other material is often
soaked in water to soften it, and a slit may be cut vertically into
the center of the shaft. This provides a place for the "head" of
the tool or weapon to fit.
The artifact can then be inserted into the slit, and fixed to the
shaft by tying around the flanges with a suitable material.
Alternatively, the head may simply be forced into the shaft, if the
shaft is soft enough, eliminating the need for a slit (and perhaps
improving durability). If a strap is used, it is tied directly to
the flanges of the artifact.
Hafting in prehistory
Before their extinction about 24,000 years ago, the Neanderthals
developed the extensive use
of hafted stone tools. Archaeological investigation provides little
evidence of the use of antler or bone.
hafted antler points onto
spears between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago.
The Clovis culture
noted for its use of hafted spears in the Americas
around 11,000 years ago. Stone Clovis points
were formed in a way that may
have allowed them to break off on impact with a target.
tools thought to have been created by Homo floresiensis up to 90,000 years
ago have been discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores.