Hukay MICROSCOPIC USE-WEAR ANALYSIS A Basic Introduction on How to Reconstruct the Functions of Stone Tools

Alfred Pawlik
2001 unpublished
Visiting Professor Archaeological Studies Program University of the Philippines, Diliman FROM TYPOLOGY TO TECHNOLOGY All remains produced by humans are called artefacts. For prehistoric archaeologists the most important artefacts were made of stone. Stones are usually hard and resistable, especially those used by prehistoric men to make tools. While most organic materials may disappear during time, under "regular" geological conditions stone tools will last over millions of years. Thus, they
more » ... ears. Thus, they contain most of the informations archaeologists get from prehistoric life. Over 99% of the time span humans exist, stones played a major role to fulfill almost all functions necessary for subsistence. They were used for cutting, scraping, carving, boring, grinding and more. All the functions today metal is used for were formerly done with stones. The first stone tools which appear at least 3 million years ago had a simple design and were made from pebbles or rocks. Beside flakes they are so-called choppers or chopping tools. Because of some disadvantages, especially the less to control cleavage, prehistoric humans learned to choose silicate rocks like quartzite, radiolarite, chert or flintstone. They showed both great hardness and sharpness and good cleavage qualities. During the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic stone tools commonly were made by knapping. Because chert/flintstone is quite brittle the working parts of flint tools soon became damaged and scarred during extensive labour. The lifespan of such tools were quite short. Especially for heavy detaching and splinting activities on harder working materials the techniques of stone grinding were developed at the end of the Mesolithic or beginning of the Neolithic. Now it was possible to make sharp and resistant tools out of tenacious and