Top 10 Tools of Neolithic Period

The Neolithic Age was 3,000 years ago. It marks the beginning of the end of the Stone Age. 

New tools with dual purposes emerged during this period to clear fields for planting and to dig into the soil. 

Human-made stone tools long before the Neolithic era, but they became more sophisticated, specialised, and polished to a subtle finish.

Neolithic tools helped create the agricultural revolution

These are the top 10 Tools of the Neolithic Period. 

10. Scrapers

Scraper images at Muséum of Toulouse
Scraper images at Muséum of Toulouse
Source: Wikimedia Common

Scrapers were one of the original stone tools, found everywhere where people settled.

They were flat pieces of stone with one longer slightly curved edge. The edges were sharpened by knapping, hafting, chipping, or banging flakes with other rocks. They were generally flat stones with long, slightly curved edges [1]

Scrapers helped butcher animals and render hides. People consumed the butchered animals and turned their hides into leather. They also used scrapers to make clothes and created outfits to feel warm and protected. 

The scrapers were classified with their functions based on shapes, designs, woods, or hides. 

Scrapers with their working edge along one of the long sides were sided scrapers, and the ones with working edges on one or both ends of a blade or flake were end scrapers.    

Grattoirs were another type of scrapers made of flints. They were used to clean hides and to work wood. Their working edges were made along the long axis of the blade. 

Nose scrapers had a smaller working edge at both ends of the tool or just on one end. 

They were man-made blades and were used in more fine-tuning work.

Hollow scrapers, on the other hand, were the ones that had notches worked into the sides or ends of the scrapers.

9. Blades

Blades images at Muséum of Toulouse
Blades images at Muséum of Toulouse
Source: Wikimedia Common

Blades were long narrow stone tools that were twice as long as broad. Obsidian and other good quality rocks were required to produce blades. 

Levallois technique was used upon these hard rocks. From these cores, prismatic cores formed in the rocks and removed the flakes with parallel edges. Their cutting sides were sharp that made the blades appropriate for cutting vegetables or animal food.[2]

The use of obsidian blades was common in the Neolithic Period. The systematic exploitation of the rocks testifies obsidian quarries traced in Europe from the neolithic era.[3]

Before blades, the neolithic people used scrapers to cut into animals, but scrapers were not long and thin enough to insert deeper into carcasses. Blades also ran along with bones and worked better for fruits and vegetables of settled agriculture. They were more difficult to make than scrapers as they needed to be knapped down to thin pieces of rocks.  

8. Arrows

Arrow of Neolithic Period
Arrow of Neolithic Period

Arrows had sophisticated shapes with delicate tips. They were made out of precision by shaping their heads’ ends to slip into their shafts.

Some arrows had sharpened tips of solid shafts made from metals, horns, rocks, or other hard materials. The shafts were hafted with a cap, a socketed tang, or inserted into a split in the shaft.  

Points attached with caps were slid snugly over the shaft’s end or held on with hot glue.  Split-shafts were constructed by splitting the arrow shaft lengthwise, inserting the arrowhead, and securing it using ferrule, sinew, rope, or wire. 

The early arrowheads were made of stone and organic materials, and as human civilization progressed, people used other materials.[4]

7. Spearheads

Spearhead arrow point stone belonging to Neolithic Period
Spearhead arrow point stone belonging to Neolithic Period

The stone age cave dwellers made sharp stone spearheads by cooking them first. Anthropologists discovered that people invented this two-step trick 50,000 years earlier than they previously thought.

Pressure flaking was used to make finishing touches to the stone spearheads. Pushing a narrow tool against one side of the spearhead, released a thin flake of material from the other side.[5]

This process allowed for very fine control, producing narrower and sharper tips. Pressure flaking was invented around 20,000 years ago while spearheads were invented.

6. Flints

Flint flakes belonging to the Neolithic period
Flint flakes belonging to the Neolithic period
Source: Wikimedia Common

Flints do not decay and have been used as raw materials for tools longer than any other material. They are hard, durable, and produce razor-sharp flakes. They are also slightly porous to be flaked by thermal action. 

These tools were unique kinds of rocks that were valuable to ancient people. Flints had uniform flakes with a very sharp edge when struck just the right way. They were hard enough to be used time and again, but were also workable.

People took large flints and hit them with other rocks or bones which would break in predictable and controllable ways while other kinds of rocks would shatter or splinter, making them impossible to craft into usable tools.

Flints were one of the best stones of the neolithic era, and they created more reliable tools with sharp edges.

5. Adzes

Adzes belonging to Neolithic Period
Adzes belonging to Neolithic Period

Adzes were used in ancient times for carpentry. They are similar to axes but have their cutting edges perpendicular to their handles rather than parallel.

The first Neolithic farmers used adzes for felling trees, shaping and assembling wooden architectures such as roof timbers and constructing furniture and walls for subterranean wells. The earliest adzes date from the Middle Stone Age period of about 70,000 years ago and are part of a generalised hunting toolkit. 

Adzes are made of ground or polished stones, flaked stones, shells, animal bones, copper, bronze or iron metals. 

While the neolithic people changed their lifestyle from hunting and gathering to sedentary agriculture, making furniture and dugout canoes, clearing woods and building structures became popular, and adzes came in handy. 

The early Neolithic carpenters built sophisticated corner joins and log constructions, using a series of stone adzes to cut and trim timbers.

4. Hammers

Hammers belonging to the Neolithic Period
Hammers belonging to the Neolithic Period

People used hard cobble hammers to strike off lithic flakes from a lump of tool stones during lithic reduction.[6]

Hammers are considered the most influential Neolithic technologies. Hammers eased new tools and made the construction of homes and settlements a little less thorough.[7]

The first hammers were made drilling holes through rounded rocks to form the head and fasten them to a rope or sinew handle. 

The neolithic people used hammers for producing flakes and hand axes. They reduced the bulk of hard stones such as jade, jadeite and hornstone to make polished stone tools. They also cracked nuts and bones and grounded paint and grains through these tools. 

3. Chisels

Chisels belonging to the Neolithic Period
Chisels belonging to the Neolithic Period

Chisels were made by attaching sharp pieces of stones to the end of sturdy sticks. Their handles and blades are made of metal or wood with sharp edges in them.

They are cutting tools with sharpened edges at the end of a metal blade, often used by driving with a mallet or hammer in dressing or shaping. 

People used chisels to carve or cut hard materials of wood, stone, or metal. They worked with copper and later bronze chisels to work both planks of wood and soft stones.

2. Axes

Axes belonging to Neolithic Period
Axes belonging to Neolithic Period

Axes were shaped through flaking, and other stones were used to grind them smooth. They made the works of clearing lands simple, allowing the spread of agriculture. Axes felled large trees and created space for fields. 

People used them to build houses and fences and chopped firewood since the neolithic era. Besides this, axes also played a vital role during social functions, important rituals, and as formidable weapons.[8]

People built many neolithic axes to use on enemies rather than trees. The need for self-protection led to a more centralised village life within high walls after the invention of axes by the neolithic people. This tool helped in building permanent communities. 

1. Knives

Knives belonging to Neolithic Period
Knives belonging to Neolithic Period

Neolithic knives were usually flakes of flint, quartz or obsidian. They were small and typically rounded with a cutting edge and a thick blunt side for holding.

People used knives for slicing through animal flesh. Some knives had pointed tips for the purpose of stabbing and killing wild animals.[9]

Neolithic people’s invention of knives marks one of the most remarkable human evolution processes because this invention was the initial progress in forming a human civilization. 

Conclusion

The neolithic people made tools of every kind by themselves or with community members who had special abilities in working with one or another material, without any specialisation.

The Neolithic Era marks the final stage of technological development for prehistoric humans and cultural evolution. People developed new tools to improve their quality of life during this time.

These tools gave people time to pursue specialised crafts because the advancement of agriculture and cultivation of cereal grains enabled them to congregate in villages and their permanent dwellings.

1. “Jordan: Basic Stone Tools.” 10 Sep. 2017, https://pages.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/arch/tools.html. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

2. “Levalloisian stone-flaking technique | anthropology | Britannica.” https://www.britannica.com/technology/Levalloisian-stone-flaking-technique. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021

3. “THE PRODUCTION OF LONG BLADES IN NEOLITHIC TIMES.” https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1525/aa.1947.49.4.02a00100. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

4. “Neolithic Era Tools: Inventing a New Age – Read Now on ….” 13 Sep. 2018, https://www.magellantv.com/articles/tools-of-the-neolithic-era-inventing-a-new-age. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

5. “Pressure flaking technique | Britannica.” https://www.britannica.com/technology/pressure-flaking-technique. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

6. “Lithic reduction – Wikipedia.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithic_reduction. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

7. “Neolithic transition and lithic technology – quartaer.eu.” http://www.quartaer.eu/pdfs/2015/2015_07_linstaedter.pdf. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

8. “Stone Tool Production – eScholarship.org.” 25 Sep. 2010, https://escholarship.org/content/qt7pb3h0h1/qt7pb3h0h1.pdf. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

9. “THE PRODUCTION OF LONG BLADES IN NEOLITHIC TIMES.” https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1525/aa.1947.49.4.02a00100. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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