Stone Tools Technology
The Oldowan technology refers to tools named after the eastern Africa site at the Olduvai Gorge where such stone tools were found. The Oldowan tools are were either flakes or choppers. The choppers are defined as large and heavy tools with sharp edges where smaller bits of rocks were chopped off. The small bits of rock removed from the choppers are the flakes. In terms of their specialization, Oldowan tools like the choppers were specially meant for chopping tasks due to their weight and size (Soluri and Agarwal 429). For example, they were used to chop long bones of animals for purposes of extracting marrow. The smaller flakes were specialized for cutting tasks such as deboning animals. The production process followed a simple direct percussion procedure. Two stones were hit together to break off flakes.
Named after the site in Saint Acheul, France, Acheulean tools feature bifaces. Bifaces are tools made of stone with flakes removed from the two sides (Soluri and Agarwal 458). For example, the handaxe was a common biface. The handaxe was a teardrop shaped tool with one side being rounded and larger, and the other end with a pointed and narrow end (Soluri and Agarwal 458). The biface tools were multipurpose and were specially made and used for this purpose. For example, they were used to butcher meat or dig for plants or roots underground. They fit the environments in Africa, Europe, and Western Asia (Soluri and Agarwal 458). Their effectiveness is noted through how they remained unchanged for millions of years. Their production process was more complicated with more steps incorporated in manufacturing them.
The Mousterian tools used flakes as the most important part. The flakes were customized into different shapes suitable for specific tasks. For example, some falkes were modified to fir scraping, others for cutting or drilling (Soluri and Agarwal 460). The modification resulted in the specialization of tools for different purposes. The Mousterian technology was complex to a point of attaching stone points to wooden shafts to create spears. (Soluri and Agarwal 460). The Levallois technique was used to produce Mousterian tools involving the removal of small flakes from a core rock and then creating a platform at the end of a stone to allow striking the platform to remove precisely shaped flakes (Soluri and Agarwal 460).
Upper Paleolithic tools emphasized the use of flakes. The difference is that these tools used a more elongated form of the flake. These flakes were referred to as blades (Soluri and Agarwal 465). The Upper Paleolithic tools were all specialized for different purposes. The technology developed knives, scrapers, drills, and arrow points. The tools were somewhat standardized to have same size, shape, and weight for tools used for specific purposes such as knives. The production technology was more complex and involved the use of other materials such as harpoons, pendants, and beads gotten from shells and other materials.
Soluri, Kathaeryne Elizabeth and Sabrina C. Agarwal. Laboratory Manual and Workbook for
Biological Anthropology (Second Edition). W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.