CHINESE ENGLISH
   

STONE TOOL MANUFACTURE

Examination of prehistoric stone tools requires that the analyst understand the basic properties of stone as a medium for technology. The analyst must develop an overview of the range of techniques employed by prehistoric knappers to reduce stone. Stone technology can be defined as the manipulation of specific materials with particular physical properties by application of a specific strategy. Greater technological sophistication will allow a greater range of materials to be worked and will allow more varied and specialized products.

There are only four basic methods for fashioning stone tools: flaking, abrading, pulverizing and cutting. This presentation concentrates principally on flaking industries. To a significant degree, the success of these methods depends on the physical properties of the stone. Two basic important properties are resilience and hardness. For example, stones like obsidian and flint are very hard but low in resilience. These kinds of stones are readily shaped by flaking. Other stones like quartzite are hard and resilient, and can be worked by pulverizing the surface. Very hard stones with low resilience can be shaped by flaking with a soft hammer, while hard stone with high resilience can be shaped with a hard hammer. To abrade stone, the abrasive must be as hard as, or harder than, the stone being worked. For example, jade and quartz are comparably hard, and quartz sand can be used as an abrasive to reduce jade. When an abrasive is used as sand or dust, the tool used as a vehicle can be softer than the stone. For example, a bone drill can be used in conjunction with quartz grit to drill granite.

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