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Core

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A flintknapper uses a hammerstone to knock flakes off a flint core.

A flintknapper uses a hammerstone to knock flakes off a flint core.

José-Manuel Benito Álvarez
Definition:

A core, in the archaeological sense, is the basic raw material building block for a stone tool. A flint knapper seeks out the most appropriate raw material available for the job. If the resulting tool is to be a projectile point or intricate tool the quality of the stone might be very good indeed,imported from many miles or hundreds of miles away.

For an expedient tool--a tool that needs to be used right away and then may be left behind--the raw material may be whatever is most available. The ability to identify where a particular raw material comes from is thus a very interesting quality of a core or tool manufacturing site.

In this illustration, the flintknapper is using a hammerstone in his right hand to flake off debitage from the core in his left hand. This is sometimes called systematic flaking.

For More Information

This entry is one of the guide to Stone Tools in Archaeology, and part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

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