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Prehistoric Stone Tools & Weapons

Updated March 23, 2017

The use of prehistoric tools and weapons began at the moment one human reached for a rock and used it to smash open a walnut shell or hurl it toward an animal or another human. Using only a few, rudimentary tools made form available materials, ancient humans managed to create weapons such as the club, spear, arrow and axe. These ancient tools and weapons could capture, kill or butcher just about any animal or serve as a constructive tool for dressing a kill, building a dwelling or clearing the land.

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In prehistoric times, when a human first picked up a stick, an easy transition began that led from a simple stick to a club used as a tool and weapon. Humans armed with clubs appear on African cave paintings dating back to 6,000 B.C..


A sharpened tip on a stick would describe the first spear used by prehistoric humans. In May 2009, "Archaeo News" reported finding a wooden spear tip in modern day Slovenia that may date back to between 38,000 and 45,000 years ago. As humans progressed and learnt how to carve and shape stone, they would attach stone spear tips to the end of long branches. The stone tipped spear represented an advance in the technology of the day. This type of spear proved more durable and allowed humans to remain at a safe distance when hunting prey or attacking an enemy.

Stone Axe

While some prehistoric tools used an attached wooden stick or branch as a handle, other early stone axes did not have a handle of any type. Ancient man carved a number of tools and weapons for use with their bare hands in mind. Many samples of prehistoric stone age tools have a carved indention which served as an area for the thumb. These hand-held stone axes probably found use in cutting plants or bone. Prehistoric humans likely attached stone axe heads onto wooden sticks to use as weapons to hunt animals for food.

Bow and Arrow

In modern day Spain, images painted on cave walls dating from 5,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C. depict humans fighting one another with bow and arrow. Some of the oldest writings and languages known to humankind contain references to the bow and arrow used for hunting and as a weapon. However, no archaeologist has ever found the wooden remains of a prehistoric bow. Arrowheads made from stone provide the earliest known prehistoric examples unearthed in ancient alluvial river beds and caves dating back to the Paleolithic era between 20,000 and 2.5 million years ago.

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About the Author

Mark Kayo has been a writer for over 30 years and has work published on various websites. He has over 25 years experience writing copy for advertisements, marketing projects, catalogs and television commercials. Kayo has a bachelor's degree in advertising and marketing.

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