Sunday, August 6, 2023

Museum of Stone Tools

Museum of Stone Tools

Welcome to the Museum of Stone Tools!  The Museum's mission is to promote stone artefact research to students and life-long learners.  The Museum hosts a diverse collection of high-quality open-access 3D models of stone artefacts from all over the world.

Humans and their ancestors have been making stone tools continuously for some 3.3 million years, and all of our advanced technologies—from cell phones to Mars rovers—were implicit in that first stone tool.

The physical demands of stone-flaking drove evolutionary changes to the human hand, allowing the precise grips that underpin all manners of artistry and sport.  Forethought and planning are necessary for complex stone-flaking, and this influenced the evolution of our unique cognitive abilities.

Ancient flaked stones have become icons for the deep past.  The British Museum’s A History of the World in 100 Objects began with stone tools, and in symbolic recognition of the importance of stone tools in the history of technology, NASA sent a Clovis spearpoint to the International Space Station in 2015.

But we have not reached the end of stone-flaking.  Stone and stone tools are important aspects of contemporary Indigenous cultures, and stonemasons continue to use stone-flaking techniques.  The internet hosts a robust trade in modern-made tools: a thriving hobby of stone toolmakers—called ‘flintknappers’—share their skills in person and on social media.  And recently-made stone tool ‘fakes’ continue to appear on the antiquities market.

The deep-time perspective provided by stone tools is unique for researchers interested in the origins and development of human technology.  Many archaeologists devote their life’s work to studying stone tools, and flintknappers and experimenters have spent decades to learn stone working at the highest skill levels.  The Museum of Stone Tools is grounded in the knowledge generated by these archaeologists and flintknappers world-wide.

The MoST’s interactive 3D models encourage visitors to manipulate these remarkable artefacts and to understand them as tangible objects rather than static images.  The sidebar tools and annotations allow the users to fully appreciate the complexities of stone artefacts.  There are various ways to use the Museum of Stone Tools:

  • Start with our guide for how to use the online 3D models of stone tools to help you get the most from the models.
  • Engage with the clickable map of stone tools to see examples of stone tools from around the world.
  • Explore the museum's online collection of different types of stone tools.
  • Or dig deep into the details of stone tool manufacture and analysis.



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