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Stone Tool Characteristics

The stone tools used by Homo floresiensis were mostly ‘flakes’ and ‘cores’.


Flakes are stone chips produced by striking the edge of a stone with another hard material (called hammer).


A core is the stone from which one or more flakes have been removed by a process called knapping. Cores are valuable for archaeologists because they record the manner and sequence through which flakes were struck off by past knappers. The core may be discarded (if the intention is to solely produce flake tools) or shaped further into core tools (e.g. hand axes).


Flaked stone artefacts are produced through ‘percussion’. That is, stones are struck by other materials to initiate flake fracture. Materials that could have been used in the past as hammer include stone, wood, bone and antler. In most cases, this sort of hammer percussion would create a series of characteristic features on the resulting flake, including the ‘bulb of percussion’ adjacent to the location of hammer impact.

The following images label the bulb of percussion and other characteristics of flake and core tools used by Homo floresiensis.


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Retouched Flake

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This article is from the free online course:

Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’

University of Wollongong

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Why Uncover the Past?
    Why Uncover the Past?

    Professor Bert Roberts explains how modern archaeological science helps us trace out the human story and piece together the human family tree.

  • Excavations at Liang Bua
    Excavations at Liang Bua

    The discovery of Homo floresiensis and ensuing excavations at Liang Bua