How to Identify Stone Tools & Weapons

Published on August 18, 2014 by Amy

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Stone Tools
Stone Tools

Indigenous tribal people have used stone tools and weapons for survival, and these stone pieces can still be found as artifacts. The stone tools and weapons have been “modified to make work and survival easier,” according to a 2011 Idaho Museum of Natural History website article. The stone weapons and tools have different characteristics, but they all generally have distinct markings from where they were forged into pieces of stone that can be used for hunting, gathering, building and warfare.

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1. Determine what type of stone you are trying to identify. Chert, flint, jasper, chalcedony, agate and obsidian stone types are strong and malleable for carving. Look for stone tools and weapons to be made of these types of stone.

2. Examine the piece for marks on the stone where flakes of stone have been “worked” or knocked loose by a hammer stone or bone tool. These marks look like recurring grooves in the stone that generally lead to sharpened and distinct points and edges on the artifact. According to the Idaho Museum of Natural History website, “the finer-grained the stone, the flatter and more leaf-like the flakes that could be chipped loose from it.

3. Look for marks and sharp edges where the stone may have been forged by a human. Realize that stone artifacts without many markings may have been used as cooking or hammering tools. Identify if the stone has been manipulated in any way and confirm your observations with research about the weapons and tools used by indigenous populations in your area.

4. Go to the library or check online to compare your tool with similar artifacts.

Source: ehow Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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