A small piece of Obsidian which has been knapped into a replica spearhead. This piece has blunted sides making it safe to handle.
Knapping is the shaping of flint, chert, obsidian or other conchoidal fracturing stone through the process of lithic reduction to manufacture stone tools, strikers for flintlock firearms, or to produce flat-faced stones for building or facing walls, and flushwork decoration. The original Germanic term "knopp" meant strike, shape, or work, so it could theoretically have referred equally well to making a statue or dice. Modern usage is more specific, referring almost exclusively to the hand-tool pressure-flaking process.
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth.
Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava. Obsidian is hard and brittle; it therefore fractures with very sharp edges, which were used in the past in cutting and piercing tools, and has been used experimentally as surgical scalpel blades.
The first archaeological evidence known of usage were made from within Kariandusi (Kenya) and other sites of the Acheulian age (beginning 1.5 million years previously) dated 700,000 BC, although the number of objects found at these sites were very low relative to the Neolithic.