Stone tools were used to make weapons for fighting, hunting, fishing, scraping and cleaning animal hides, drilling, engraving, carving wood. Stone tools were also used to make clothing, transport such as boats, shelter and decorative art. Stone receptacles were also made to hold household items. Many Stone Tools were made from a combination of items and materials. An Arrow or Spear had a stone or bone Arrowhead or point which was attached to a wooden handle and arrows would also have feathers attached, all of which were held together with a cord usually made from animal sinew or with various types of glue.
List of Stone Tools and Techniques
The following list of Tools provides the names of the tools and their techniques with their purpose and function. Flakes or Flaking: Flint knapping involved a process in which the original stone of flint to be reduced in size. Flakes of stone were broken off the of the original piece of flint to produce Stone Tools. The article about the Flint Knapper provides a description of How to make a stone axe. The following chart provides a list of prehistoric Stone Tools and modern terms used to describe the making of stone tools and flint knapping.
- Adze: Adzes were tools with a curved blade used like a chisel to work wood
- Anvil (Work surface): This is a flint knapping term used to describe a rock that was used as a level work surface for chipping flint stones into tools, blades or projectile points
- Arrow Straightener: The Arrow Straightener was an extremely useful tool made from an antler.
- wl: Awls were bone or stone tools that were tapered to a point and used to punch holes in leather and wood. This hand tool was also used for shredding plant fibers for thread and fishing nets.
- Axe: Axes were large, cutting tools with heavy bladed heads mounted across a handle
- Billets: Billets was a bone or antler tools, shaped like a small club, used for flaking Stone Tools
- Burins: Burin were stone tools flaked into points for inscribing or grooving bone, stone, wood, leather or antler. These tools could have been used with or without a wooden handle.
- Borers: Borers were small pieces of flint made into small stone tools for piercing holes
- Biface and Uniface tools: Biface tools were stone tools that had been worked on both sides or faces, meaning that flakes have been intentionally chipped off from both sides of the stone. Uniface tools were those that had been worked on or knapped on only one side.
- Bulb of percussion: This is a flint knapping term used to describe a small, rounded protrusion on a flint flake resulting from the blow that separated the flake from its core
- Bulbar depression: A depression left on the core stone when a blade or flake was struck off.
- Celts: Celts were long thin stone adzes or other axe-like tools
- Chert: Chert is a A dense, very hard rock similar to flint and one of the preferred materials for making stone tools. It can be knapped but is mostly of lower quality. Chert is usually found in shades of white, pink, brown and grey.
- Conchoidal Fracture: A type of break or crack in flint or quartz that results in a smooth rounded surface resembling the shape of a scallop shell or appears bent.
- Core: A piece of flint from which flakes are removed. Blade cores were the stones used for manufacturing different kinds of tools by flaking off pieces from the core to make other stone tools and weapons such as knives, scrapers, spear pints, drills etc.
- Crescents: Crescents were 1/4 moon shaped stone tools used as types of scythes or scrapers
- Debitage: Small pieces of debris and waste that break off during the making of stone tools
- Drift: A drift was a tool usually made of antler, which was used in the indirect percussion flaking process in which flakes were removed through impact
- Drill: A drill was an oblong flaked stone tool used in drilling holes in hide, wood or leather
- Flakes & Flaking: Flake - A flake is a piece of stone removed from a core. A flaking tool, such as an antler billet or drift, used in removing flakes during the making of Stone Tools. Cutting Flakes & blades were surplus flakes that were used as cutting tools. Pressure flaking - A technique to remove flakes from a core by applying pressure steadily until the flake breaks off. Percussion flaking - in which the flake is struck off
- Flint: Flint is a hard kind of stone, a large impure variety of quartz, usually found in gray, brown, reddish, green or nearly black colors and often has a glassy or waxy appearance. Used by to manufacture stone tools, such as spear and dart points, knives, and tools.
- Ground stone tools: These tools were usually made of basalt, rhyolite, granite stones whose coarse structure made them ideal for grinding other materials, including plants and other stones. They were used in conjunction with other tools to make celts, and stone axes
- Graver: A graver was a small stone tool with a sharp tip that was used to engrave stone, bone, or wood
- Hammerstone:A hammerstone was a hard, often oblong or rounded stone, used in flint knapping
- Harpoons & Atlatls: An Antler Harpoon was developed by Artic and Sub-Artic tribes for hunting large marine animals such as whales. Antler harpoons were used in tandem with wooden launchers known as atlatls to help the harpoon penetrate prey with more force.
- Knapping: Knapping - A technique for making stone tools by striking flakes from a core with a hard hammer stone or soft percussion tool (antler bone). Refer to Flint Knapping
- Knives: Knives were tools which were flaked to form one or more cutting edges.
- Microliths: Small, narrow blades (1-4 cms in length) used in combination for various tools where they are attached to wooden shaft to make arrows, reaping tools, harpoons, drill bits
- Microblade: A long, narrow stone blade, usually less than 2 inches long
- Needles:Stone Age sewing needles made of bone with punched eyeholes. Used together with thread made from plant fibers or animal sinew.
- Obsidian: A glassy, volcanic rock, often black in color, was used in ancient times to produce extremely sharp blades.
- Percussion: The word percussion used in connection with making of stone tools relates to striking one solid object with, or against, another with some degree of force.
- Direct Percussion - Striking a core directly with a hammer or billet in order to drive off a flake - A glancing blow to the edge of the stone was usually made to avoid completely shattering the core. Indirect percussion - Interposing a bone or antler punch between the hammer and the core to remove any unwanted knobs or high spots. Allows greater control than direct percussion flaking.
- Saws: Flakes of flint were worked to create a toothed edge used to make a saw-like stone tool
- Sharpening stones : Sharpening stones, water stones or whetstones: These stones were used as tools to are used to grind and hone the edges of knives and implements
- Scrapers: Scrapers were tools made from a flake of flint that has small flakes removed from one side to create a working edge. Suitable for scraping and cleaning animal hides. An End Scraper was a heavy duty tool that was used for scraping fur from animal hides and removing the fatty tissue from its underside.
- Tranchet: A tranchet was a stone tool used for cutting
Materials used to make Stone Tools
The materials used to make stone tools were from the natural resources available in the environment. Each type of stone had different properties, some were hard, some were brittle, some were heavy and was chosen to produce the required tool. An example of this is that flint, a hard kind of stone that splits into sharp splinters called flakes when struck by another hard object, or tool. The tool used to smash flint was called a hammerstone which made with a hard, oblong or rounded stone.