Quern-stones are stone tools for hand-grinding a wide variety of materials. They are used in pairs; the lower, stone is called a quern, while the upper mobile stone is called a handstone. The central hole is called a handle slot enables the handstone to be rotated, they were first used in the Neolithic era to grind cereals into flour. An old Gaelic proverb is "The quern performs best when the grindstone has been pitted." The upper stones were concave whilst the lower was convex and sometimes a rind was present as a piece of wood etc that allowed the cereal etc to be added but still acted as a centering device. The upper stone sometimes had a cup shaped area around the hopper hole with a raised edge. Most handstones have a handle hole on the upper surface, however one class of quern-stones have a slot handle which indicates that a piece of wood was placed horizontally and protruded out from the edge so that the operator could turn the stone by standing and using a rod vertically. One class of upper quern-stones has from two to three sockets for the rod used to turn them and this is thought to reflect the need to reduce wear and tear by having alternative points of contact when in active use.
Quern-stones have been used by numerous civilizations throughout the world to grind materials, the most important of, grain to make flour for bread-making. They were replaced by millstones once mechanised forms of milling appeared the water mill and the windmill, although animals were used to operate the millstones. However, in many non-Westernised, non-mechanised cultures they are still manufactured and used and have only been replaced in many parts of the world in the last century or so. In early Maya civilizations the process of nixtamalization was distinctive in that hard, ripe kernels of maize were boiled in water and lime, thus producing nixtamal, made into unleavened dough for flat cakes by grinding with a handstone on a quern. Quern stones were used in China at least 10,000 years ago to grind wheat into flour; the production of flour by rubbing wheat by hand took several hours. Due to their form and the nature of the treatment of the surfaces, they reproduce the most ancient implements used for grinding cereal grain into flour.
Saddle querns were known in China during the Neolithic Age but rotary stone mills did not appear until the Warring States Period. A prehistoric quern dating back to 23,000 BCE was found at the Longwangchan archaeological site, in Hukou, Shaanxi in 2007; the site is located in the heartland of the northern Chinese loess plateau near the Yellow River. As well as grain, ethnographic evidence and Mesopotamian texts show that a wide range of foodstuffs and inorganic materials were processed using stone querns or mortars, including nuts, fruit, herbs, meat, pigments and clay. Moreover, one study analysing quern-stones noted that a number of querns had traces of arsenic and bismuth, unlike their source rocks, had levels of antimony which were ten times higher than those of the rocks; the authors concluded that this was due to the use of these querns in the preparation of medicines, dyes or in the manufacture of alloys. Querns were used in grinding metals ores after mining extraction; the aim was to liberate fine ore particles which could be separated by washing for example, prior to smelting.
They were thus used in gold mining in antiquity. In the Shetlands tobacco was not smoked when first introduced, but instead was ground up into snuff, inhaled up the nose. Snuff-querns consisted of an lower stone, fixed together by a central iron pivot; the quern was held on the user's lap, the eye of the quern was filled with dried tobacco leaves, the upper-stone was turned using the handle. The friction caused by the turning ground the leaves into a fine powder that built up around the edge of the lower-stone. Many snuff-querns had a small hole or cut made near the edge of the upper-stone, into which a pointed end of a lamb's horn was placed in order to turn the stone. There are, more surprising recorded uses of quern-stones. For example, DeBoer, in his review of the traditional gambling games of North American tribes, reports that one of the games involved bouncing a group of split canes off a quern. Violence is recorded in the Book of Judges: “But a certain woman threw an upper-millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushed his skull.”
The best type of stone from which to manufacture quern-stones are igneous rocks such as basalt. These have rough surfaces, but grains do not detach so the material being ground does not become gritty. However, such rocks are not always available, meaning that quern-stones have been manufactured from a wide variety of rocks, including sandstone and limestone. Quernmore Crag near Lancaster in England is named after the quarrying of millstone grit used to make quern stones in these parts. Rutter was able to show, for the southern Levant, that basalt quern-stones were preferred to those manufactured from other rock types. Basalt quern-stones were therefore transported over long-distances, leading him to argue that, despite their every-day, utilitarian function, they were used as a status symbol. Research in Scotland has indicated. Knocking stones were used in the preparation of small quantities of cereal however the earliest forms of quern were the saddle and trough querns; the earliest quern so far was found at Abu Hureyra, Syria.
A development was the rotary quern, which takes several forms. The saddle quern is produced by rocking or rolling
A sickle, bagging hook or reaping-hook, is a hand-held agricultural tool designed with variously curved blades and used for harvesting, or reaping, grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock, either freshly cut or dried as hay. Falx was a synonym but was used to mean any of a number of tools that had a curved blade, sharp on the inside edge such as a scythe. Since the beginning of the Iron Age hundreds of region-specific variants of the sickle have evolved of iron and steel; this great diversity of sickle types across many cultures can be divided into smooth or serrated blades, both of which can be used for cutting either green grass or mature cereals using different techniques. The serrated blade that originated in prehistoric sickles still dominates in the reaping of grain and is found in modern grain-harvesting machines and in some kitchen knives; the development of the sickle in Mesopotamia can be traced back to times that pre-date the Neolithic Era. Large quantities of sickle blades have been excavated in sites surrounding Israel that have been dated to the Epipaleolithic era.
Formal digs in Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan have unearthed various forms of early sickle blades. The artifacts possessed a jagged edge; this intricate ‘tooth-like’ design showed a greater degree of design and manufacturing credence than most of the other artifacts that were discovered. Sickle blades found during this time were made of flint and used in more of a sawing motion than with the more modern curved design. Flints from these sickles have been discovered near Mt. Carmel, which suggest the harvesting of grains from the area about 10,000 years ago; the sickle had a profound impact on the Agricultural Revolution by assisting in the transition to farming and crop based lifestyle. It is now accepted that the use of sickles led directly to the domestication of Near Eastern Wild grasses. Research on domestication rates of wild cereals under primitive cultivation found that the use of the sickle in harvesting was critical to the people of early Mesopotamia; the narrow growing season in the area and the critical role of grain in the late Neolithic Era promoted a larger investment in the design and manufacture of sickle over other tools.
Standardization to an extent was done on the measurements of the sickle so that replacement or repair could be more immediate. It was important that the grain be harvested at the appropriate time at one elevation so that the next elevation could be reaped at the proper time; the sickle provided a more efficient option in collecting the grain and sped up the developments of early agriculture. The sickle remained common both in the Ancient Near East and in Europe. Numerous sickles have been found deposited in hoards in the context of the European Urnfield culture, suggesting a symbolic or religious significance attached to the artifact. In archaeological terminology, Bronze Age sickles are classified by the method of attaching the handle. E.g. the knob-sickle is so called because of a protruding knob at the base of the blade which served to stabilize the attachment of the blade to the handle. The sickle played a prominent role in the Druids' Ritual of oak and mistletoe as described from a single passage in Pliny the Elder's Natural History: Due to this passage, despite the fact that Pliny does not indicate the source on which he based this account, some branches of modern Druidry have adopted the sickle as a ritual tool.
The sickle has been discovered in southwest North America with a unique structure. These sickles are said to have originated from the Far East. There is evidence that Kodiak islanders had for cutting grass “sickles made of a sharpened animal shoulder blade”; the artifacts found in present-day Arizona and New Mexico resemble curved tools that were made from the horns of mountain sheep. A similar site discovered sickles made from other material such as the Caddo Sickle, made from a deer mandible. Scripture from early natives document the use of these sickles in the cutting of grass; the instruments ranged from 13 to 16 inches tip to tip. Several other digs in eastern Arizona uncovered wooden sickles that were shaped in a similar fashion; the handles of the tools help describe how the tool was held in such a way so that the inner portion that contained the cutting surface could serve as a gathering surface for the grain. Sickles were sharpened by scraping a shape beveled edge with a coarse tool; this action has left marks on artifacts.
The sharpening process was necessary to keep the cutting edge from being dulled after extended use. The edge is seen to be quite polished, which in part proves that the instrument was used to cut grass. After collection, the grass was used as material to create bedding; the sickle in general provided the convenience of cutting the grass as well as gathering in one step. In South America, the sickle is used as a tool to harvest rice. Rice clusters are left to dry in the sun; the genealogy of sickles with serrated edge reaches back to the Stone Age, when individual pieces of flint were first attached to a “blade body” of wood or bone. Teeth have been cut with hand-held chisels into iron, steel-bladed sickles for a long time. In many countries on the African continent and South America as well as the Near and Far East this is still the case in the regions within these large geographies where the traditional village blacksmith remains alive and well. En
A basket is a container, traditionally constructed from stiff fibers, can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair, baleen, or metal wire can be used. Baskets are woven by hand; some baskets are fitted with a lid. Baskets serve utilitarian as well as aesthetic purposes; some baskets are ceremonial, religious, in nature. While baskets are used for harvesting and transport, specialized baskets are used as sieves for a variety of purposes, including cooking, processing seeds or grains, tossing gambling pieces, fans, fish traps, laundry. Prior to the invention of woven baskets, people used tree bark to make simple containers; these containers could be used to transport gathered food and other items, but crumbled after only a few uses. Weaving strips of bark or other plant material to support the bark containers would be the next step, followed by woven baskets; the last innovation appears to be baskets so woven that they could hold water.
Depending on soil conditions, baskets may not be preserved in the archaeological record. Sites in the Middle East show that weaving techniques were used to make mats and also baskets, circa 8000 BCE. Twined baskets date back to 7000 in Oasisamerica. Baskets made with interwoven techniques were common at 3000 BCE. Baskets were designed as multi-purpose vessels to carry and store materials and to keep stray items about the home; the plant life available in a region affects the choice of material, which in turn influences the weaving technique. Rattan and other members of the Arecaceae or palm tree family, the thin grasses of temperate regions, broad-leaved tropical bromeliads each require a different method of twisting and braiding to be made into a basket; the practice of basket making has evolved into an art. Artistic freedom allows basket makers a wide choice of colors, sizes and details; the carrying of a basket on the head by rural women, has long been practised. Representations of this in Ancient Greek art are called Canephorae.
The phrase "to hell in a handbasket" means to deteriorate. The origin of this use is unclear. "Basket" is sometimes used as an adjective towards a person, born out of wedlock. This occurs more in British English. "Basket" refers to a bulge in a man's crotch. Basket makers use a wide range of materials: Wicker Straw Plastic Metal Bamboo Palm Carbon fiber Zepeda, Ofelia. Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert. ISBN 0-8165-1541-7. "Basket". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3. 1911. Baskets, The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Bow and arrow
The bow and arrow is a ranged weapon system consisting of an elastic launching device and long-shafted projectiles. Archery is the practice, or skill of using bows to shoot arrows. A person who shoots arrows with a bow is called an archer. Someone who makes bows is known as a bowyer, one who makes arrows is a fletcher, one who manufactures metal arrowheads is an arrowsmith; the use of bows and arrows by humans for hunting predates recorded history and was common to many prehistoric cultures. They were important weapons of war from ancient history until the early modern period, where they were rendered obsolete by the development of the more powerful and accurate firearms, were dropped from warfare. Today and arrows are used for hunting and sports. A bow consists of a semi-rigid but elastic arc with a high-tensile bowstring joining the ends of the two limbs of the bow. An arrow is a projectile with a pointed tip and a long shaft with stabilizer fins towards the back, with a narrow notch at the end to contact the bowstring.
To load an arrow for shooting, the archer places an arrow across the middle of the bow with the bowstring in the arrow's nock. To shoot, the archer pulls back the arrow and the bowstring, which in turn flexes the bow limbs, storing elastic energy. While maintaining the draw, the archer sights along the arrow to aim it; the archer releases the arrow, allowing the limbs' stored potential energy to convert into kinetic energy, transmitted via the bowstring to the arrow, propelling it to fly forward with high velocity. A container or bag for additional arrows for quick reloading is called a quiver; when not in use, bows are kept unstrung, meaning one or both ends of the bowstring are detached from the bow. This removes all residual tension on the bow, can help prevent it from losing strength or elasticity over time. For many bow designs, this lets it straighten out more reducing the space needed to store the bow. Returning the bowstring to its ready-to-use position is called stringing the bow; the bow and arrow appears around the transition from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic.
After the end of the last glacial period, use of the bow seems to have spread to every inhabited region, except for Australasia and most of Oceania. The earliest definite remains of bow and arrow are from Europe. Possible fragments from Germany were found at Mannheim-Vogelstang dated 17,500-18,000 years ago, at Stellmoor dated 11,000 years ago. Azilian points found in Grotte du Bichon, alongside the remains of both a bear and a hunter, with flint fragments found in the bear's third vertebra, suggest the use of arrows at 13,500 years ago. At the site of Nataruk in Turkana County, obsidian bladelets found embedded in a skull and within the thoracic cavity of another skeleton, suggest the use of stone-tipped arrows as weapons about 10,000 years ago. Microliths discovered on the south coast of Africa suggest that projectile weapons of some sort may be at least 71,000 years old; the oldest extant bows in one piece are the elm Holmegaard bows from Denmark which were dated to 9,000 BCE. Several bows from Holmegaard, date 8,000 years ago.
High-performance wooden bows are made following the Holmegaard design. The Stellmoor bow fragments from northern Germany were dated to about 8,000 BCE, but they were destroyed in Hamburg during the Second World War, before carbon 14 dating was available; the bow was an important weapon for both hunting and warfare from prehistoric times until the widespread use of gunpowder in the 16th century. Organised warfare with bows ended in the mid 17th century in Europe, but it persisted into the early 19th century in Eastern cultures and in hunting and tribal warfare in the New World. In the Canadian Arctic bows were made until the end of the 20th century for hunting caribou, for instance at Igloolik; the bow has more been used as a weapon of tribal warfare in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The British upper class led a revival of archery from the late 18th century. Sir Ashton Lever, an antiquarian and collector, formed the Toxophilite Society in London in 1781, under the patronage of George Prince of Wales.
The basic elements of a bow are a pair of curved elastic limbs, traditionally made from wood, joined by a riser. Both ends of the limbs are connected by a string known as the bow string. By pulling the string backwards the archer exerts compressive force on the string-facing section, or belly, of the limbs as well as placing the outer section, or back, under tension. While the string is held, this stores the energy released in putting the arrow to flight; the force required to hold the string stationary at full draw is used to express the power of a bow, is known as its draw weight, or weight. Other things being equal, a higher draw weight means a more powerful bow, able to project heavier arrows at the same velocity or the same arrow at a greater velocity; the various parts of the bow can be subdivided into further sections. The topmost limb is known as the upper limb. At the tip of each limb is a nock, used to attach the bowstring to the limbs; the riser is divided into the grip, held by the archer, as well as the arrow rest and the bow window.
The arrow rest is a small ledge or extension above the grip which the arrow rests upon while being aimed. The bow window is that part of the
North America is a continent within the Northern Hemisphere and all within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers, about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, the fourth by population after Asia and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands are included. North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge 40,000 to 17,000 years ago; the so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago. The Classic stage spans the 6th to 13th centuries.
The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants. Owing to the European colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak English, Spanish or French, their culture reflects Western traditions; the Americas are accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann. Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a different landmass unknown by Europeans. In 1507, Waldseemüller produced a world map, in which he placed the word "America" on the continent of South America, in the middle of what is today Brazil, he explained the rationale for the name in the accompanying book Cosmographiae Introductio:... ab Americo inventore... quasi Americi terram sive Americam.
For Waldseemüller, no one should object to the naming of the land after its discoverer. He used the Latinized version of Vespucci's name, but in its feminine form "America", following the examples of "Europa", "Asia" and "Africa". Other mapmakers extended the name America to the northern continent, In 1538, Gerard Mercator used America on his map of the world for all the Western Hemisphere; some argue that because the convention is to use the surname for naming discoveries, the derivation from "Amerigo Vespucci" could be put in question. In 1874, Thomas Belt proposed a derivation from the Amerrique mountains of Central America. Marcou corresponded with Augustus Le Plongeon, who wrote: "The name AMERICA or AMERRIQUE in the Mayan language means, a country of perpetually strong wind, or the Land of the Wind, and... the can mean... a spirit that breathes, life itself." The United Nations formally recognizes "North America" as comprising three areas: Northern America, Central America, The Caribbean.
This has been formally defined by the UN Statistics Division. The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with context. In Canadian English, North America refers to the land mass as a whole consisting of Mexico, the United States, Canada, although it is ambiguous which other countries are included, is defined by context. In the United States of America, usage of the term may refer only to Canada and the US, sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico, as well as offshore islands. In France, Portugal, Romania and the countries of Latin America, the cognates of North America designate a subcontinent of the Americas comprising Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda. North America has been referred to by other names. Spanish North America was referred to as Northern America, this was the first official name given to Mexico. Geographically the North American continent has many subregions; these include cultural and geographic regions. Economic regions included those formed by trade blocs, such as the North American Trade Agreement bloc and Central American Trade Agreement.
Linguistically and culturally, the continent could be divided into Latin America. Anglo-America includes most of Northern America and Caribbean islands with English-speaking populations; the southern North American continent is composed of two regions. These are the Caribbean; the north of the continent maintains recognized regions as well. In contrast to the common definition of "North America", which encompasses the whole continent, the term "North America" is sometimes used to refer only to Mexico, the United States, Greenland; the term Northern America refers to the northern-most countries and territories of North America: the United States, Bermuda, St. Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland. Although the term does not refer to a unifie
An arrow is a fin-stabilized projectile, launched via a bow, consists of a long straight stiff shaft with stabilizers called fletchings, as well as a weighty arrowhead attached to the front end, a slot at the rear end called the nock for engaging the bowstring. The use of bows and arrows by humans is common to most cultures. A craftsman who makes arrows is a fletcher, one that makes arrowheads is an arrowsmith; the oldest evidence of stone-tipped projectiles, which may or may not have been propelled by a bow, dating to c. 64,000 years ago, were found in Sibudu Cave, current South Africa. The oldest evidence of the use of bows to shoot arrows dates to about 10,000 years ago, they had shallow grooves on the base. The oldest bow so far recovered is about 8,000 years old. Archery seems to have arrived in the Americas with the Arctic small tool tradition, about 4,500 years ago. Arrow sizes vary across cultures, ranging from eighteen inches to six feet. However, most modern arrows are 75 centimetres to 96 centimetres.
Short arrows have been used, shot through a guide attached either to the bow or to the archer's wrist. These may fly farther than heavier arrows, an enemy without suitable equipment may find himself unable to return them; the shaft is the primary structural element of the arrow, to which the other components are attached. Traditional arrow shafts are made from strong, lightweight wood, bamboo or reeds, while modern shafts may be made from aluminium, carbon fibre reinforced plastic, or a combination of materials; such shafts are made from an aluminium core wrapped with a carbon fibre outer. A traditional premium material is Port Orford Cedar; the stiffness of the shaft is known as its spine, referring to how little the shaft bends when compressed, hence an arrow which bends less is said to have more spine. In order to strike a group of arrows must be spined. "Center-shot" bows, in which the arrow passes through the central vertical axis of the bow riser, may obtain consistent results from arrows with a wide range of spines.
However, most traditional bows are not center-shot and the arrow has to deflect around the handle in the archer's paradox. Bows with higher draw weight will require stiffer arrows, with more spine to give the correct amount of flex when shot; the weight of an arrow shaft can be expressed in GPI. The length of a shaft in inches multiplied by its GPI rating gives the weight of the shaft in grains. For example, a shaft, 30 inches long and has a GPI of 9.5 weighs 285 grains, or about 18 grams. This does not include the other elements of a finished arrow, so a complete arrow will be heavier than the shaft alone. Sometimes a shaft will be made of two different types of wood fastened together, resulting in what is known as a footed arrow. Known by some as the finest of wood arrows, footed arrows were used both by early Europeans and Native Americans. Footed arrows will consist of a short length of hardwood near the head of the arrow, with the remainder of the shaft consisting of softwood. By reinforcing the area most to break, the arrow is more to survive impact, while maintaining overall flexibility and lighter weight.
A barreled arrow shaft is one. This allows for an arrow that retains enough strength to resist flex. A Qing dynasty arrow shaft was examined by archery enthusiast Peter Dekker and found to exhibit the following qualities: Total shaft length: 944mm Thickness at waist line: 8.5mm Thickness at end of feather: 11mm Thickness 530mm from end: 12mm Thickness 300mm from end: 12mm Thickness 218mm from end: 11mm Thickness 78mm from end: 10mm Thickness at end: 9mmThe resultant point-of-balance of the arrow shaft was thus 38.5% of the length of the arrow from the tip. Barreled arrow shafts are considered the zenith of pre-industrial archery technology, reaching their peak design among the Ottomans; the arrowhead or projectile point is the primary functional part of the arrow, plays the largest role in determining its purpose. Some arrows may use a sharpened tip of the solid shaft, but it is far more common for separate arrowheads to be made from metal, horn, or some other hard material. Arrowheads are separated by function: Bodkin points are short, rigid points with a small cross-section.
They were made of unhardened iron and may have been used for better or longer flight, or for cheaper production. It has been mistakenly suggested that the bodkin came into its own as a means of penetrating armour, but research has found no hardened bodkin points, so it is that it was first designed either to extend range or as a cheaper and simpler alternative to the broadhead. In a modern test, a direct hit from a hard steel bodkin point penetrated Damascus chain armour. However, archery was not effective against plate armour, which became available to knights of modest means by the late 14th century. Blunts are unsharpened arrowheads used for types of target shooting, for shooting at stumps or other targets of opportunity, or hunting small game when the goal is to concuss the target without penetration. Blunts are made of metal or hard rubber, they may stun, occ
A hand axe is a prehistoric stone tool with two faces, the longest-used tool in human history. It is made from flint or chert, it is characteristic of middle Palaeolithic periods. Its technical name comes from the fact that the archetypical model is bifacial Lithic flake and almond-shaped. Hand axes tend to be symmetrical along their longitudinal axis and formed by percussion; the most common hand axes have a pointed end and rounded base, which gives them their characteristic shape, both faces have been knapped to remove the natural cortex, at least partially. Hand axes are a type of the somewhat wider biface group of two-faced weapons. Hand axes were the first prehistoric tools to be recognized as such: the first published representation of a hand axe was drawn by John Frere and appeared in a British publication in 1800; until that time, their origins were thought to be supernatural. They were called thunderstones, because popular tradition held that they had fallen from the sky during storms or were formed inside the earth by a lightning strike and appeared at the surface.
They are used in some rural areas as an amulet to protect against storms. Hand axe tools were used to butcher animals. Four classes of hand axe are: 1: Large, thick hand axes reduced from cores or thick flakes, referred to as blanks 2: Thinned blanks. While form remains rough and uncertain, an effort has been made to reduce the thickness of the flake or core 3: Either a preform or crude formalized tool, such as an adze 4: Finer formalized tool types such as projectile points and fine bifacesWhile Class 4 hand axes are referred to as "formalized tools", bifaces from any stage of a lithic reduction sequence may be used as tools.. French antiquarian André Vayson de Pradenne introduced the word biface in 1920; this term co-exists with the more popular hand axe, coined by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet much earlier, The continued use of the word biface by François Bordes and Lionel Balout supported its use in France and Spain, where it replaced the term hand axe. Use of the expression hand axe has continued in English as the equivalent of the French biface, while biface applies more for any piece, carved on both sides by the removal of shallow or deep flakes.
The expression faustkeil is used in German. It can be translated as hand axe, although in a stricter sense it means "fist wedge", it is the same in Dutch where the expression used is vuistbijl which means "fist axe". The same locution occurs in other languages. However, the general impression of these tools were based on ideal pieces that were of such perfect shape that they caught the attention of non-experts, their typology broadened the term's meaning. Biface hand axe and bifacial lithic items are distinguished. A hand axe need not be a bifacial item and many bifacial items are not hand axes. Nor were hand axes and bifacial items exclusive to the Lower Palaeolithic period in the Old World, they appear throughout the world and in many different pre-historical epochs, without implying an ancient origin. Lithic typology was abandoned as a dating system. Examples of this include the "quasi-bifaces" that sometimes appear in strata from the Gravettian and Magdalenian periods in France and Spain, the crude bifacial pieces of the Lupemban culture or the pyriform tools found near Sagua La Grande in Cuba.
The word biface refers to something different in English than biface in French or bifaz in Spanish, which could lead to many misunderstandings. Bifacially carved cutting tools, similar to hand axes, were used to clear scrub vegetation throughout the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods; these tools were a cheaper alternative to polished axes. The modern day villages along the Sepik river in New Guinea continue to use tools that are identical to hand axes to clear forest. "The term biface should be reserved for items from before the Würm II-III interstadial", although certain objects could exceptionally be called bifaces. Hand axe does not relate to axe, overused in lithic typology to describe a wide variety of stone tools. At the time the use of such items was not understood. In the particular case of Palaeolithic hand axes the term axe is an inadequate description. Lionel Balout stated, "the term should be rejected as an erroneous interpretation of these objects that are not'axes'". Subsequent studies supported this idea those examining the signs of use.
Hand axes are made of flint, but rhyolites, phonolites and other coarse rocks were used as well. Obsidian, natural volcanic glass and was used. Most hand axes have a sharp border all around, No academic consensus describes their use; the pioneers of Palaeolithic tool studies first suggested that bifaces were used as axes or at least for use in demanding physical activities. Other uses showed; the different forms and shapes of known specimens led them to be described as the Acheulean "Swiss Army knife". Each type of tool could have been used for multiple tasks. Wells proposed in 1899 that hand axes were used as missile weapons to hunt prey – an interpretation supported by Calvin, who suggested that some of the rounder specimens of Acheulean hand axes were used as hunting projectiles or as "killer frisbees" meant to be thrown at a herd of animals at a w