Skip main navigation

Stone Tool Characteristics

Characteristics of stone tools excavated from Liang Bua
© University of Wollongong

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.


Alt text tag (Click to expand)


Alt text tag (Click to expand)

Retouched Flake

Alt text tag (Click to expand)

© University of Wollongong
This article is from the free online

Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education