Crimson’s Creative Challenge #66: The Knapper


A last bus rumbled past, leaving behind it diesel fumes and a wash of gutter water.

The night was restless with weaving drunks, corners stuffed with sleeping bags and cardboard mattresses for the city’s homeless.

‘Does it have to be now?’ Marv whispered.

Tyche pushed knotted hair from her eyes. ‘When else?’ She approached the old gaol wall, its dark mosaic of flint nodules.

‘We’re gonna end up in jail ourselves, only it’ll be more shared lavs and shivs than pretty rocks.’

‘Here.’ She knelt by the rusted grill, hand on a particular ball of flint. ‘Get to work, Knapper.’

Sighing, Marv eased down beside her. The wall seemed to glow a little, a faint luminescence only visible away from the street lights. Placing a swollen knuckle on the light, he struck.

Splinters fell to the pavement. A song floated, sinuous on the air. Such longing.

‘We’re here,’ hissed Tyche.


Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #66. Go here to join in.

NB. Tyche was the Greek Goddess who governed the prosperity and fortune of a city.

Flint is a fascinating material that was used for weaponry and tools long before it was used to make buildings. It’s almost a mystical thing, to watch an expert knapper create an arrowhead from a solid, brittle ball of flint.

And for fun, I thought I’d include a video of my favourite knapper – archaeologist Phil Harding from Wessex Archaeology. And if you want to imagine Phil as Marv, feel free.


26 thoughts on “Crimson’s Creative Challenge #66: The Knapper

  1. Oh, you must have known that Phil Harding is my archaeology hero. Brilliant chap, love him. And he makes knapping look so easy. It isn’t. I’ve sat on Sheringham beach surrounded by flints and… nah, it’s not easy. But I think that’s cos I’m too heavy-handed.
    Great take on the prompt, Lynn 🙂


    1. Oh, yes, I love him too! I confess I was addicted to Time Team and was stupidly excited when we saw Mick Aston at Yorvik museum years ago. Never plucked up the courage to speak to him, which is sad now I will never get the chance. I’m the kind of person who gets excited about seeing people like Ronald Hutton, the early modern historian. He uses the Sainsburys near where our florist is based. Anyone else would go gooey over handsome heart throbs – I want to talk to the middle aged eccentric historians! 🙂 Thanks so much, Crispina

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Neil Oliver, you mean? Although no tv I have watched most of the TimeTeam programmes on YouTube. But I found myself getting annoyed with Tony Robinson when he gave entirely the wrong name of a Domesday holder of land around Shrewsbury, and then compounded it by making the wrong person a close relative of William the Conqueror.


      2. Mick Aston was the short, plump, white haired archaeologist who led many of the early digs. Love Neil Oliver too, though – that voice! Yes, Time Team was certainly flawed, you’re right, but I still loved the characters and their enthusiasm. Wouldn’t find that on prime time Channel 4 these days

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Doesn’t seem to stop some people! And many in the Tory government want to do away with the licence so you might not have to worry about it much longer

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yea, I’ve been following that. But then it would be by subscription and what does BBC put out that I’d be willing to pay money. Have they changed over the past thirty years? I doubt it. Though they are good at producing historical drama. But then they put it out on DVD, and that’s when I buy it.


      5. I agree with you, the BBC is still the best at historical drama and much of their drama is superior to ITV which is often (not always of course) pretty trashy and predictable. But with streaming services like Netflix, even the Beebs reputation for outstanding drama looks to be challenged

        Liked by 1 person

      6. No tele means I either watch uploads to YouTube, or I buy dvds… e.g. BBC’s Wolf Hall. I don’t subscribe to Netflix. I have occasionally rented a movie from Google but… nah, I’d rather buy the dvd and enjoy all the extras.


      7. I’m the same with music – still buy CDs then upload to my Walkman! We’re a dying breed, though – soon it’ll all be downloads and we’ll have nothing physical to own! Wolf Hall was good, wasn’t it? Mark Rylance – wow! And although the lighting (lack of lighting!) got plenty of complaints from numpties I loved it – so realistic. Life inside the house would have been really gloomy – we take lighting so much for granted

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I think what I liked most was how realistically quiet it was. No hollywood-styled whoosh bang wallops! And of course the costumes. I liked that they weren’t all glitzy.


      9. A lot’s shot at a place called Bottle Yard studios. I pass film crews quite regularly, especially in the summer. In fact one wanted to use our house, though sadly the dates clashed with my son’s GCSEs – though the way things are going with the virus, the exams might now be postponed. Though the crews are a pain when they’re blocking the path and you have to get to work!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Yea, I can imagine. Back in the day, when I lived and worked in Norwich, Anglia TV used the streets for shooting Tales of the Unexpected. There would aways be crews in the way!


    1. You did? Wow, that’s a very cool thing to teach young lads! It’s one of those things that seems to have an alchemy to it to me, something slightly other. Creating a hand axe or an arrow head from a rock? Just brilliant. Thanks for reading Mark


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