Bone knives

Bone knives . Bone knives are tools created in the period known as prehistory of humanity whose main raw material is organic, that is, they were made of bone, antler or ivory.

Bone knife with wooden rope


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  • History
  • Features of these knives
  • Bone industry
  • Some tools of the bone industry
  • Sources


During the Lower Paleolithic and Middle Paleolithic, humans used bones little to make tools, as evidenced by the materials preserved in the archaeological finds. There are bones intentionally broken by man, but they cannot be considered useful. These bone findings are called underworked bone.

It is during the Upper Palaeolithic and later times when a true bone instrumental with well-defined types appears, to such an extent that when they appear they are called in some strata fossil director because they define a certain cultural area.

Knife entirely made of ivory


Features of these knives

Organic materials do not possess the hardness of stone when making a tool. However, they are much more malleable and flexible, allowing them to be used for other activities. Therefore, they allow techniques that are difficult to elaborate with stone, such as trimming, drilling, incising or polishing. In addition, bone materials allow certain marks to be made on its surface, as well as the development of artistic manifestations, such as that of the Upper Paleolithic furniture art.

Bone industry

Bone knives

These knives are part of the supplies, weapons and tools made in that prehistoric period for what has been called the bone industry. Unlike the stone industry whose main material was stone, this industry made a wide variety of objects in bone, antler or ivory. Due to their chemical nature, they have a lower degree of conservation than flint knives and other minerals; The bone knives and other utensils of this stage that have been preserved today have been because they have been buried under favorable conditions.

Knife, needle and bone punches

Certain animal bones, such as long bones, ribs, scapulae, or teeth, were used as raw materials for making ornaments and tools. Bone selection depended on the intended function of the final object. Thus, the tubular bones were cut in a bevel and pointed to obtain punches or needles, while the flattened bones were more suitable for the production of spatulas, knives, etc. Sometimes the support was subjected to fire to harden it


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