of flint tools
During the early and middle Palaeolithic,
human ancestors such as Homo erectus developed Mode 2
Acheulian biface axes. They also made side scrapers and end
scrapers that tended to be on thick flakes. (Click thumbnails
In the Upper Palaeolithic, Neanderthal humans made
Mousterian biface axes with a characteristic flat base, and
scrapers which continued to be made on thick flakes. Later in the Palaeolithic, modern humans made Aurignacian
industry flint tools that included pointed blades and more finely
worked scrapers. (Click thumbnails to enlarge.)
In Mesolithic times, our ancestors made fine hunting
tools, arrows and spears, using microliths. They also made
woodworking tools like the Tranchet Adze, and picks, and a wide
range of finely crafted scrapers, points, burins and other tools,
based on their skill at making fine flakes and blades. (Click
thumbnails to enlarge.)
In Neolithic times, people returned to making bifacial axes as
core tools, but this time they usually polished them. They
also made maces and hammers, and made more sophisticated
arrowheads. They continued to make scrapers but they were
less selective about their flint and less precise with their
knapping. (Click thumbnails to enlarge.)
An identification checklist
To distinguish between an artefact and a geofact (a flint that
has been shaped by natural processes such as frost) use the
following checklist. Don't pay too much attention to the overall
shape or possible function (whether it would make a good borer or
spear point) but ask yourself:
- Is the flint uniformly patinated?
- Is there the remains of a striking platform?
- Is there a striking point (positive bulb of percussion)?
- Have the edges been retouched?
- Is there pressure flaking on the surface?
|Early and mid Palaeolithic
1.7 million to 200,000 years ago.
|Upper Palaeolithic 30,000 to
40,000 years ago
|Mesolithic 12,,000 to
6,000 years ago
|Neolithic 6,000 to 4,000