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Prehistoric Tools

Over the decades of archaeological research, archaeologists have worked to identify categories of prehistoric tools, many categories created by comparison to modern tools because no written records existed to tell us what they are. Today, archaeologists use a suite of supporting data: deposits left on the working edges, marks of usewear on working edges, and experimental replication.

This list of prehistoric tools links to details on the characteristics which make the tools distinctive, and the archaeological evidence used to recognize them.

Adze
The adze, also spelled adz, is a stone wood-working tool, the first versions of which are at least 70,000 years old.

Arrowhead
An arrowhead is the word used by archaeologists and enthusiasts alike to mean the sharp tip of an arrow, whether made of stone, bone, metal or other material.

Arrowheads and Projectile Points: The Tools of a Prehistoric Hunter
Arrowheads are the most identifiable archaeological artifact in the world. Whether they've personally collected them from nearby farmlands, seen them in museum displays or just watched them being shot into people in John Wayne movies, most people know the triangular tips of arrow shafts are the remnants of a hunting trip.

Artifact
An artifact (spelled artefact, if you're in the Old World) is an object or remainder of an object, which was created, adapted, or used by human agency.

Atlatl
The atlatl is a sophisticated combination hunting tool or weapon, formed out of a short dart with a point socketed into a longer shaft.

Axe
An axe is a stone wood working tool, used as modern day axes are, to cut down trees, horizontally slicing through the wood.

Debitage
Debitage is the collective term used by archaeologists to refer to the sharp-edged waste material left over when someone creates a stone tool

Handaxe
A handaxe is a type of stone tool made by our earliest hominid ancestors, and part of the Acheulean tradition.

Projectile Point
Archaeologists use the general term 'projectile point' to refer to any object affixed to a pole or stick of some kind, fashioned for use as a weapon

Stone Hoe
A stone hoe was a tool used by prehistoric peoples to dig in the earth, and is was primarily associated with farming societies who have no access to metals.

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