A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made either partially or entirely out of stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistoric (particularly Stone Age) cultures that have become extinct. Archaeologists often study such prehistoric societies, and refer to the study of stone tools as lithic analysis. Ethnoarchaeology has been a valuable research field in order to further the understanding and cultural implications of stone tool use and manufacture.
Stone has been used to make a wide variety of different tools throughout history, including arrow heads, spearpoints and querns. Stone tools may be made of either ground stone or chipped stone, and a person who creates tools out of the latter is known as a flintknapper.
Chipped stone tools are made from cryptocrystalline materials such as chert or flint, radiolarite, chalcedony, obsidian, basalt, and quartzite via a process known as lithic reduction. One simple form of reduction is to strike stone flakes from a nucleus (core) of material using a hammerstone or similar hard hammer fabricator. If the goal of the reduction strategy is to produce flakes, the remnant lithic core may be discarded once it has become too small to use. In some strategies, however, a flintknapper reduces the core to a rough unifacial or bifacial preform, which is further reduced using soft hammer flaking techniques or by pressure flaking the edges.
More complex forms of reduction include the production of highly standardized blades, which can then be fashioned into a variety of tools such as scrapers, knives, sickles and microliths. In general terms, chipped stone tools are nearly ubiquitous in all pre-metal-using societies because they are easily manufactured, the tool stone is usually plentiful, and they are easy to transport and sharpen.
In 1969 in the 2nd edition of World Prehistory, Grahame Clark proposed an evolutionary progression of flint-knapping in which the "dominant lithic technologies" occurred in a fixed sequence from Mode 1 through Mode 5. He assigned to them relative dates: Modes 1 and 2 to the Lower Palaeolithic, 3 to the Middle Palaeolithic, 4 to the Advanced and 5 to the Mesolithic. They were not to be conceived, however, as either universal—that is, they did not account for all lithic technology; or as synchronous—they were not in effect in different regions simultaneously. Mode 1, for example, was in use in Europe long after it had been replaced by Mode 2 in Africa.
Clark's scheme was adopted enthusiastically by the archaeological community. One of its advantages was the simplicity of terminology; for example, the Mode 1 / Mode 2 Transition. The transitions are currently of greatest interest. Consequently, in the literature the stone tools used in the period of the Palaeolithic are divided into four "modes", each of which designate a different form of complexity, and which in most cases followed a rough chronological order.
Stone tools found from 2011 to 2014 at Lake Turkana in Kenya, are dated to be 3.3 million years old, and predate the genus Homo by half million years. The oldest known Homo fossil is 2.8 million years old compared to the 3.3 million year old stone tools. The stone tools may have been made by Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops— (a 3.2 to 3.5-million-year-old Pliocene hominin fossil discovered in 1999) the species whose best fossil example is Lucy, which inhabited East Africa at the same time as the date of the oldest stone tools. Dating of the tools was by dating volcanic ash layers in which the tools were found and dating the magnetic signature (pointing north or south due to reversal of the magnetic poles) of the rock at the site.
Grooved, cut and fractured animal bone fossils, made by using stone tools, were found in Dikika, Ethiopia near (200 yards) the remains of Selam, a young Australopithecus afarensis girl who lived about 3.3 million years ago.
The earliest stone tools in the life span of the genus Homo are Mode 1 tools, and come from what has been termed the Oldowan Industry, named after the type of site (many sites, actually) found in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, where they were discovered in large quantities. Oldowan tools were characterised by their simple construction, predominantly using core forms. These cores were river pebbles, or rocks similar to them, that had been struck by a spherical hammerstone to cause conchoidal fractures removing flakes from one surface, creating an edge and often a sharp tip. The blunt end is the proximal surface; the sharp, the distal. Oldowan is a percussion technology. Grasping the proximal surface, the hominid brought the distal surface down hard on an object he wished to detach or shatter, such as a bone or tuber.
The earliest known Oldowan tools yet found date from 2.6 million years ago, during the Lower Palaeolithic period, and have been uncovered at Gona in Ethiopia. After this date, the Oldowan Industry subsequently spread throughout much of Africa, although archaeologists are currently unsure which Hominan species first developed them, with some speculating that it was Australopithecus garhi, and others believing that it was in fact Homo habilis. Homo habilis was the hominin who used the tools for most of the Oldowan in Africa, but at about 1.9-1.8 million years ago Homo erectus inherited them. The Industry flourished in southern and eastern Africa between 2.6 and 1.7 million years ago, but was also spread out of Africa and into Eurasia by travelling bands of H. erectus, who took it as far east as Java by 1.8 million years ago and Northern China by 1.6 million years ago.
Eventually, more complex, Mode 2 tools began to be developed through the Acheulean Industry, named after the site of Saint-Acheul in France. The Acheulean was characterised not by the core, but by the biface, the most notable form of which was the hand axe. The Acheulean first appears in the archaeological record as early as 1.7 million years ago in the West Turkana area of Kenya and contemporaneously in southern Africa.
The Leakeys, excavators at Olduvai, defined a "Developed Oldowan" Period in which they believed they saw evidence of an overlap in Oldowan and Acheulean. In their species-specific view of the two industries, Oldowan equated to H. habilis and Acheulean to H. erectus. Developed Oldowan was assigned to habilis and Acheulean to erectus. Subsequent dates on H. erectus pushed the fossils back to well before Acheulean tools; that is, H. erectus must have initially used Mode 1. There was no reason to think, therefore, that Developed Oldowan had to be habilis; it could have been erectus. Opponents of the view divide Developed Oldowan between Oldowan and Acheulean. There is no question, however, that habilis and erectus coexisted, as habilis fossils are found as late as 1.4 million years ago. Meanwhile, African H. erectus developed Mode 2. In any case a wave of Mode 2 then spread across Eurasia, resulting in use of both there. H. erectus may not have been the only hominin to leave Africa; European fossils are sometimes associated with Homo ergaster, a contemporary of H. erectus in Africa.
In contrast to an Oldowan tool, which is the result of a fortuitous and probably ex tempore operation to obtain one sharp edge on a stone, an Acheulean tool is a planned result of a manufacturing process. The manufacturer begins with a blank, either a larger stone or a slab knocked off a larger rock. From this blank he or she removes large flakes, to be used as cores. Standing a core on edge on an anvil stone, he or she hits the exposed edge with centripetal blows of a hard hammer to roughly shape the implement. Then the piece must be worked over again, or retouched, with a soft hammer of wood or bone to produce a tool finely chipped all over consisting of two convex surfaces intersecting in a sharp edge. Such a tool is used for slicing; concussion would destroy the edge and cut the hand.
Some Mode 2 tools are disk-shaped, others ovoid, others leaf-shaped and pointed, and others elongated and pointed at the distal end, with a blunt surface at the proximal end, obviously used for drilling. Mode 2 tools are used for butchering; not being composite (having no haft) they are not very appropriate killing instruments. The killing must have been done some other way. Mode 2 tools are larger than Oldowan. The blank was ported to serve as an ongoing source of flakes until it was finally retouched as a finished tool itself. Edges were often sharpened by further retouching.
Eventually, the Acheulean in Europe was replaced by a lithic technology known as the Mousterian Industry, which was named after the site of Le Moustier in France, where examples were first uncovered in the 1860s. Evolving from the Acheulean, it adopted the Levallois technique to produce smaller and sharper knife-like tools as well as scrapers. Also known as the "prepared core technique," flakes are struck from worked cores and then subsequently retouched.  The Mousterian Industry was developed and used primarily by the Neanderthals, a native European and Middle Eastern hominin species, but a broadly similar industry is contemporaneously widespread in Africa. 
The widespread use of long blades (rather than flakes) of the Upper Palaeolithic Mode 4 industries appeared during the Upper Palaeolithic between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, although blades were still produced in small quantities much earlier by Neanderthals  The Aurignacian culture seems to have been the first to rely largely on blades  The use of blades exponentially increases the efficiency of core usage compared to the Levallois flake technique, which had a similar advantage over Acheulean technology which was worked from cores.
Mode 5 stone tools involve the production of microliths, which were used in composite tools, mainly fastened to a shaft. Examples include the Magdalenian culture. Such a technology makes much more efficient use of available materials like flint, although required greater skill in manufacturing the small flakes. Mounting sharp flint edges in a wood or bone handle is the key innovation in microliths, essentially because the handle gives the user protection against the flint and also improves leverage of the device.
In prehistoric Japan, ground stone tools appear during the Japanese Paleolithic period, that lasted from around 40,000 BC to 14,000 BC. Elsewhere, ground stone tools became important during the Neolithic period beginning about 10,000 BC. These ground or polished implements are manufactured from larger-grained materials such as basalt, jade and jadeite, greenstone and some forms of rhyolite which are not suitable for flaking. The greenstone industry was important in the English Lake District, and is known as the Langdale axe industry. Ground stone implements included adzes, celts, and axes, which were manufactured using a labour-intensive, time-consuming method of repeated grinding against an abrasive stone, often using water as a lubricant. Because of their coarse surfaces, some ground stone tools were used for grinding plant foods and were polished not just by intentional shaping, but also by use. Manos are hand stones used in conjunction with metates for grinding corn or grain. Polishing increased the intrinsic mechanical strength of the axe. Polished stone axes were important for the widespread clearance of woods and forest during the Neolithic period, when crop and livestock farming developed on a large scale. They are distributed very widely and were traded over great distances since the best rock types were often very local. They also became venerated objects, and were frequently buried in long barrows or round barrows with their former owners.
During the Neolithic period, large axes were made from flint nodules by chipping a rough shape, a so-called "rough-out". Such products were traded across a wide area. The rough-outs were then polished to give the surface a fine finish to create the axe head. Polishing not only increased the final strength of the product but also meant that the head could penetrate wood more easily.
There were many sources of supply, including Grimes Graves in Suffolk, Cissbury in Sussex and Spiennes near Mons in Belgium to mention but a few. In Britain, there were numerous small quarries in downland areas where flint was removed for local use, for example.
Many other rocks were used to make axes from stones, including the Langdale axe industry as well as numerous other sites such as Penmaenmawr and Tievebulliagh in Co Antrim, Ulster. In Langdale, there many outcrops of the greenstone were exploited, and knapped where the stone was extracted. The sites exhibit piles of waste flakes, as well as rejected rough-outs. Polishing improved the mechanical strength of the tools, so increasing their life and effectiveness. Many other tools were developed using the same techniques. Such products were traded across the country and abroad.
The invention of the flintlock gun mechanism in the sixteenth century produced a demand for specially shaped gunflints. The gunflint industry survived until the middle of the twentieth century in some places, including in the English town of Brandon.
For specialist purposes glass knives are still made and used today, particularly for cutting thin sections for electron microscopy in a technique known as microtomy. Freshly cut blades are always used since the sharpness of the edge is very great. These knives are made from high-quality manufactured glass, however, not from natural raw materials such as chert or obsidian. Surgical knives made from obsidian are still used in some delicate surgeries.
In archaeology, a tool stone is a type of stone that is used to manufacture stone tools. Alternatively, the term can be used to refer to stones used as the raw material for tools.
The Aterian is a Middle Stone Age (or Middle Palaeolithic) stone tool industry centered in North Africa, but also possibly found in Oman and the Thar Desert. The earliest Aterian dates to c. 145,000 years ago, at the site of Ifri n'Ammar in Morocco. However, most of the early dates cluster around the beginning of the Last Interglacial, around 130,000 years ago, when the environment of North Africa began to ameliorate. The Aterian disappeared around 20,000 years ago.
The Aterian is primarily distinguished through the presence of tanged or pedunculated tools, and is named after the type site of Bir el Ater, south of Tébessa. Bifacially-worked, leaf-shaped tools are also a common artefact type in Aterian assemblages, and so are racloirs and Levallois flakes and cores. Items of personal adornment (pierced and ochred Nassarius shell beads) are known from at least one Aterian site, with an age of 82,000 years. The Aterian is one of the oldest examples of regional technological diversification, evidencing significant differentiation to older stone tool industries in the area, frequently described as Mousterian. The appropriateness of the term Mousterian is contested in a North African context, however.Blade (archaeology)
In archaeology, a blade is a type of stone tool created by striking a long narrow flake from a stone core. This process of reducing the stone and producing the blades is called lithic reduction. Archaeologists use this process of flintknapping to analyze blades and observe their technological uses for historical peoples.
Blades are defined as being flakes that are at least twice as long as they are wide and that have parallel or subparallel sides and at least two ridges on the dorsal (outer) side. It is important to note that blade cores appear and are different from regular flaking cores, as each core's conchoidal nature is suited for different types of flaking. Blades are created using stones that have a cryptocrystalline structure and easily be fractured into a smooth piece without fracturing. Blades became the favored technology of the Upper Palaeolithic era, although they are occasionally found in earlier periods. Different techniques are also required for blade creation; a soft punch or hammerstone is necessary for creating a blade.
The long sharp edges of blades made them useful for a variety of purposes. After blades are flaked, they are often incorporated as parts of larger tools, such as spears. Other times, the simple shape and sharpness serves the designed role. Blades were often employed in the impression process of material culture, assisting ancient humans in imprinting ornate designs into other parts of their material culture. Scrapers, used for hide working or woodworking, or burins, used for engraving, are two common such examples.
Cores from which blades have been struck are called blade cores and the tools created from single blades are called blade tools. Small examples (under 12 mm) are called microblades and were used in the Mesolithic as elements of composite tools. Blades with one edge blunted by removal of tiny flakes are called backed blade. A blade core becomes an exhausted core when there are no more useful angles to knock off blades.
Blades can be classified into many different types depending on their shape and size. Archaeologists have also been known to use the microscopic striations created from the lithic reduction process to classify the blades into specific types. Once classified archaeologists can use this information to see how the blade was produced, who produced it, and how it was used.Blank
Blank or Blanks may refer to:
Blank (archaeology), a thick, shaped stone biface for refining into a stone tool
Blank (cartridge), a type of gun cartridge
Blank (Scrabble), a playing piece in the board game Scrabble
Blank (solution), a solution containing no analyte
A Planchet or blank, a round metal disk to be struck as a coin
Application blank, a space provided for data on a form
Glass blank, an unfinished piece of glass
Key blank, an uncut key
About:blank, a Web browser function
Blank (playing card), playing card in card-point gamesChalcolithic
The Chalcolithic (English: ), a name derived from the Greek: χαλκός khalkós, "copper" and from λίθος líthos, "stone" or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Aeneolithic (from Latin aeneus "of copper") is an archaeological period which researchers usually regard as part of the broader Neolithic (although scholars originally defined it as a transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age). In the context of Eastern Europe, archaeologists often prefer the term "Eneolithic" to "Chalcolithic" or other alternatives.
In the Chalcolithic period, copper predominated in metalworking technology. Hence it was the period before it was discovered that adding tin to copper formed bronze (a harder and stronger metal). The archaeological site of Belovode, on Rudnik mountain in Serbia has the oldest securely-dated evidence of copper smelting, from 7000 BP (c. 5000 BC).The Copper Age in the Ancient Near East began in the late 5th millennium BC and lasted for about a millennium before it gave rise to the Early Bronze Age.
The transition from the European Copper Age to Bronze Age Europe occurs about the same time, between the late 5th and the late 3rd millennia BC.Chopper (archaeology)
Archaeologists define a chopper as a pebble tool with an irregular cutting edge formed through the removal of flakes from one side of a stone.
Choppers are crude forms of stone tool and are found in industries as early as the Lower Palaeolithic from around 2.5 million years ago. These earliest known specimens were found in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by Louis Leakey in the 1930s. The name Oldowan was given to the tools after the site in which they were excavated. These types of tools were used an estimated time range of 2.5 to 1.2 million years ago.Cleaver (tool)
In archaeology, a cleaver is a type of biface stone tool of the Lower Palaeolithic.
Cleavers resemble hand axes in that they are large and oblong or U-shaped tools meant to be held in the hand. But, unlike hand axes, they have a wide, straight cutting edge running at right angles to the axis of the tool.
Acheulean cleavers resemble handaxes but with the pointed end truncated away. Flake cleavers have a cutting edge created by a tranchet flake being struck from the primary surface.Denticulate tool
In archeology, a denticulate tool is a stone tool containing one or more edges that are worked into multiple notched shapes (or teeth), much like the toothed edge of a saw. Indeed, such tools have been used as saws, more likely for meat processing than for wood. It is possible, however, that some or all of these notches were used for smoothing wooden shafts or for similar purposes.
These tools are included in the Mousterian tool industry by Neanderthal culture, proceeded by small hand axes and side scrapers.Ground stone
In archaeology, ground stone is a category of stone tool formed by the grinding of a coarse-grained tool stone, either purposely or incidentally. Ground stone tools are usually made of basalt, rhyolite, granite, or other cryptocrystalline and igneous stones whose coarse structure makes them ideal for grinding other materials, including plants and other stones.Hammerstone
In archaeology, a hammerstone is a hard cobble used to strike off lithic flakes from a lump of tool stone during the process of lithic reduction. The hammerstone is a rather universal stone tool which appeared early in most regions of the world including Europe, India and North America. This technology was of major importance to prehistoric cultures before the age of metalworking.Laem Son National Park
Laem Son National Park is located in Ranong and Phangnga provinces, Thailand. It is situated 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Ranong on the country's west coast, with 100 kilometres (62 mi) of Andaman Sea coastline, making it Thailand's longest protected shore. The marine national park is named after the pines along the cape's shore. It was established in 1983, and is 315 square kilometres (122 sq mi) in size.
The NP is a coastal area with beaches, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and a rainforest jungle. From the beach at Hat Bang Ben, some of the 20 offshore islands are visible, such as Ko Kam Yai, Ko Kam Noi, Mu Ko Yipun, Ko Khang Khao, and Ko Phayam, while Ko Kam Tok (alternate Ko Ao Khao Khwai) and Ko Kam Yai are not visible from this beach. The islands of Piak Nam Yai and Thao are noted for stone-tool usage by long-tailed macaques. In 2002, the Laemson National Park-Kapoe Estuary-Kra Buri River Estuary area became a designated Ramsar site. Subsequent to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the park headquarters were flattened, and Ao Khao Khwai (Bull Horn Bay) was split into two small islands. A consortium of institutional partners are facilitating a mangrove restoration project at Laem Son.Later Stone Age
The Later Stone Age (LSA) is a period in African prehistory that follows the Middle Stone Age.
The Later Stone Age is associated with the advent of modern human behavior in Africa, although definitions of this concept and means of studying it are up for debate. The transition from the Middle Stone Age to the Later Stone Age is thought to have occurred first in eastern Africa between 50,000 and 39,000 years ago. It is also thought that Later Stone Age peoples and/or their technologies spread out of Africa over the next several thousand years.The terms "Early Stone Age", "Middle Stone Age" and "Later Stone Age" in the context of African archaeology are not to be confused with the terms Lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic, and Upper Paleolithic.
They were introduced in the 1920s, as it became clear that the existing chronological system of Upper, Middle, and Lower Paleolithic was not a suitable correlate to the prehistoric past in Africa. Some scholars, however, continue to view these two chronologies as parallel, arguing that they both represent the development of behavioral modernity.Lithic analysis
In archaeology, lithic analysis is the analysis of stone tools and other chipped stone artifacts using basic scientific techniques. At its most basic level, lithic analyses involve an analysis of the artifact’s morphology, the measurement of various physical attributes, and examining other visible features (such as noting the presence or absence of cortex, for example).
The term 'lithic analysis' can technically refer to the study of any anthropogenic (human-created) stone, but in its usual sense it is applied to archaeological material that was produced through lithic reduction (knapping) or ground stone. A thorough understanding of the lithic reduction and ground stone processes, in combination with the use of statistics, can allow the analyst to draw conclusions concerning the type of lithic manufacturing techniques used at a prehistoric archaeological site. For example, they can make certain equation between each the factors of flake to predict original shape. These data can then be used to draw an understanding of socioeconomic and cultural organization.
The term knapped is synonymous with "chipped" or "struck", but is preferred by some analysts because it signifies intentionality and process. Ground stone generally refers to any tool made by a combination of flaking, pecking, pounding, grinding, drilling, and incising, and includes things such as mortars/metates, pestles (or manos), grinding slabs, hammerstones, grooved and perforated stones, axes, etc., which appear in all human cultures in some form. Among the tool types analyzed are projectile points, bifaces, unifaces, ground stone artifacts, and lithic reduction by-products (debitage) such as flakes and cores.Lithic technology
Lithic technology includes a broad array of techniques and styles in archaeology, which are used to produce usable tools from various types of stone. The earliest stone tools were recovered from modern Ethiopia and were dated to between two-million and three-million years old. The archaeological record of lithic technology is divided into three major time periods: the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age), and Neolithic (New Stone Age). Not all cultures in all parts of the world exhibit the same pattern of lithic technological development, and stone tool technology continues to be used to this day, but these three time periods represent the span of the archaeological record when lithic technology was paramount. By analysing modern stone tool usage within an ethnoarchaeological context insight into the breadth of factors influencing lithic technologies in general may be studied. See: Stone tool. For example, for the Gamo of Southern Ethiopia, political, environmental, and social factors influence the patterns of technology variation in different subgroups of the Gamo culture; through understanding the relationship between these different factors in a modern context, archaeologists can better understand the ways that these factors could have shaped the technological variation that is present in the archaeological record.Lower Paleolithic
The Lower Paleolithic (or Lower Palaeolithic) is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 3.3 million years ago when the first evidence for stone tool production and use by hominins appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the Oldowan ("mode 1") and Acheulean ("mode 2") lithics industries.
In African archaeology, the time period roughly corresponds to the Early Stone Age, the earliest finds dating back to 3.3 million years ago, with Lomekwian stone tool technology, spanning Mode 1 stone tool technology, which begins roughly 2.6 million years ago and ends between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago, with Mode 2 technology.The Middle Paleolithic followed the Lower Paleolithic and recorded the appearance of the more advanced prepared-core tool-making technologies such as the Mousterian. Whether the earliest control of fire by hominins dates to the Lower or to the Middle Paleolithic remains an open question.Lunate
Lunate is a crescent or moon-shaped microlith. In the specialized terminology of lithic reduction, a lunate flake is a small, crescent-shaped flake removed from a stone tool during the process of pressure flaking.
In the Natufian period, a lunate was a small crescent-shaped stone tool that was sometimes used to harvest grasses.
In archaeology a lunate is a small stone artifact, that has a blunt straight edge and a sharpened crescent shaped back.
The word originates from the Latin word lunatus which means to bend like a crescent, and from luna meaning moon in Latin.
A lunate object can be typically used as a decorative piece or as a stone tool.Mano (stone)
A mano (Spanish for hand) is a ground stone tool used with a metate to process or grind food by hand.Metate
A metate or metlatl (or mealing stone) is a type or variety of quern, a ground stone tool used for processing grain and seeds. In traditional Mesoamerican culture, metates were typically used by women who would grind lime-treated maize and other organic materials during food preparation (e.g., making tortillas). Similar artifacts are found all over the world, including China.Tomaquag Rock Shelters
The Tomaquag Rock Shelters (RI-HP-1) are a rockshelter site off Maxson Hill Road (formerly Burdickville Road) in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. The shelters are located under two east-facing granite outcrops in the valley drained by Tomaquag Brook. First discovered in the late 1950s by Nathan Kaye, materials recovered from test excavations resulted in the dating the occupation of one shelter to 800 BCE and the other to 800 CE. Materials recovered include projectile points, stone knives, and evidence of stone tool construction. Both sites included evidence pointing to the presence of a fire pit.The shelters were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.The shelters were gifted from Nathan Kaye to the State of Rhode Island in 1982. In 1996 the State Properties Committee entered into a "Park Use Agreement" with the Town of Hopkinton to preserve the shelter site. The Hopkinton Planning Board entered a requirement that the cultural aspects of the shelter be protected in a Master Plan agreement with the developers of a proposed solar farm across the road from the site on January 4, 2019.Uniface
In archeology, a uniface is a specific type of stone tool that has been flaked on one surface only. There are two general classes of uniface tools: modified flakes—and formalized tools, which display deliberate, systematic modification of the marginal edges, evidently formed for a specific purpose.