Why do we care about stone artefacts?
Because stone tools are nearly indestructible, they are the most common tools found in archaeological sites. Some of the earliest tools made and used by human ancestors were made of stone, and understanding not only their function but also how they were produced is hugely important to the study of past peoples. Flaked tools are seen as more ‘mobile’ technologies as the creation of Ground and Pecked tools would be more time and labour intensive, representing a more costly investment in the technology. Therefore, ground and pecked tools are associated with more sedentary communities who were able to curate their tools longer, thus making the investment in the technology worthwhile.
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Some types of stone are unique and with present knowledge we may be able to trace where it likely came from. This information is paramount in reconstructing past trade and social networks. Obsidian in particular can be sourced with near 100% confidence with various methods of chemical analysis (XRF, NAA, EMA, mass spectrometry). Given all of these benefits, it is clear that stone artifacts provide a wealth of knowledge for understanding our cultural history and should be left in place when encountered at archaeological sites.