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Biface

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1000664BifaceThe biface was a multifunctional tool. Its cutting edges were used to chop wood, to cut meat, or to scrape skins. Its tip was used to pierce holes or to unearth roots. Its rounded base was used as a hammer.BifaceThe biface was a multifunctional tool. Its cutting edges were used to chop wood, to cut meat, or to...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition_portrait/public/multimedia/2012.3.24_c_2.jpg?itok=AQ1aDfuaLe Havre Museum – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
1000664The biface is a tool carved from a larger block of stone. This tool appeared 1.5 million years ago in East African Oldowan deposits. The biface is a tool carved from a larger block of stone. This tool appeared 1.5 million years ago...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition_portrait/public/multimedia/2012.3.24_b_0.jpg?itok=b4g55xN_Le Havre Museum – Photo credit : C. Livonnen

Acheulean biface

• Origin : Forêt de Montgeon, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime

• Period : Lower Palaeolithic

• Archaeological culture : Acheulean

• Raw material : flint

• Dimensions : length : 16 cm ; width : 10 cm

• Inventory number : 2012.3.24

• Donation, Louis Cayeux's wife, 1974

The biface is a tool carved from a larger block of stone. Its technical name comes from the fact that it is generally bifacial. This tool appeared 1.5 million years ago in East African Oldowan deposits. In Europe, it appeared during the Lower Paleolithic. It is a typical Acheulean artifact but it is also a very common object during the Mousterian Middle Paleolithic.

This large tool used to be called «thunderstone» because popular tradition held that it had fallen from the sky during a storm. The biface was a multifunctional tool. Its cutting edges were used to chop wood, to cut meat, or to scrape skins. Its tip was used to pierce holes or to unearth roots. Its rounded base was used as a hammer. 

Related objects

Knife

It is probably the most common, everyday tool. It is often quite straightforward, since any stone fragment or silex with a sharp edge could be used as a blade.

Chopping tool

Chopping tools are usually made of pebble or soft stone. A hard stone was used in order to make the cutting edges, since the soft stone would begin to chip away once it was hit by the hard stone. These tools of various dimensions are typical of ancient African industry and were ever-present during Lower and Middle Palaeolithic .

Copper arrowhead

Copper arrowheads often seem to have been used several times. Most of the time, they are found cracked or bent. Metal arrowheads were probably used for hunting. Their use meant hunters had to retrieve their preys, in order to get the arrows back and put them back in service as soon as possible. Arrows were used primarily as hunting weapons, but they could also be used as currency for goods.

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