Tools used in the stone age

Written by luc braybury
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Tools used in the stone age
Stone tools gave early humans a survival advantage no other animals possessed. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The Stone Age is considered the first period of prehistoric human technological development, preceding the Bronze and Iron ages. The Stone Age, during which stone was the major hard material used to construct tools, began over 2 million years ago, only being supplanted by the use of metal in the last 5,000 to 6,000 years. Millions of these tools have been collected from all over Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. The Stone Age is divided into three periods, known as the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, each signifying important economic and social developments. The Stone Age toolkit included many implements including stone blade cores, end scrapers, awls, spear points and burins.

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Blade Cores

Blade cores were chunks of sharp rocks used as the source for other types of tools. Pieces of stone would be flaked off of the core, in the shape of thin, rectangle-like chips; these were crafted into knives, scrapers, spear blades, hand axes and other tools and weapons. Blade cores were so crudely fashioned that it is sometimes impossible for archaeologists to tell if a stone is a tool or a naturally formed rock.

End Scrapers

An end scraper is a teardrop shaped piece of stone used to scrape fur and fatty tissue from the hides of animals, though they also could have been used to smooth wood or bones as well. Anthropologists believe that end scrapers were not only handheld tools but were also sometimes attached to a wood handle. The main purpose of the tool appears to have been to aid in the production of animal hide clothing and shelter.

Burins

Burins were stone tools with a rounded grasping end and a sharp, razor-like working end. The tools were formed by striking off a small stone flake from a larger stone flake. Burins were used for carving other materials such as bone and wood. They were wielded either in hand or attached to a wooden handle.

Awls

Awls were small, circular stone flakes with multiple sharp points around the tool's circumference. Prehistoric humans used the awls to shred and slice fibres for use as thread and fishing nets. The tool also could have been used to punch holes in leather and wood and to cut animal skins when making clothing. While typically made of stone, bone awls have been found, though bone tools are softer and less durable than stone.

Clovis Points

A Clovis spear point is a specific type of North American stone spear point. Clovis points are leaf-shaped with a triangular point and a wide, grooved end made to fit into spear shafts. They could be used for distance hunting, where the spear would be launched at a large animal for safety, or to lunge at prey when at close quarters.

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