Arch 485 Lithic Technology

In the Lithic Technology course (Arch 485) students learn about the manufacture and use of stone tools throughout prehistory and about the different types of analyses that archaeologists use to better understand this technology. However, students get a much better idea about what was involved in making and using stone tools if they get the chance to learn how to flintknap - make stone tools - themselves. This has been an important part of the course for decades and the Department of Archaeology has a flintknapping pit dedicated to this where students learn to make a variety of prehistoric stone tools. Most types of stone that work well for making stone tools are very similar to modern glass so students are given custom-made glass disks to flake into beautiful replicas of a tool called a biface. A modern human ancestor, Homo erectus, began making especially large bifaces, called Acheulian handaxes, over one and a half million years ago.