Object of the month: Slate knives

Monthly Artifacts

Slate knives

Slate was a common material used in Finnmark in the Stone Age, as it is today. We have a lot of slate in Alta, and today it is the rock-solid Alta slate that is used. The floor you are standing on is Alta slate. In the Stone Age it was a red and grey slate that contains a lot less quartz. That makes it very easy to shape. 

Slate was used some 6-7000 years ago and was used until the metal ages. These knives presented here could for example be used to skin the hides off animals. The knives could be very sharp but would quickly become dull. A significant advantage is that this material can easily be sharpened again. 

Some unique knives have been found that have elk-heads. Perhaps some knives where made as an ornamental object, rather than a practical one?

Written by Rune Normann, curator