Station: [209] Stone Workshop

The Neolithic is also known as the age of polished stone, and we can indeed observe a clear difference in the appearance of their stone tools.  Smooth surfaces and straight holes point to new production techniques, involving sawing, sanding and boring, instead of hacking and knapping. Axes, hatchets and blades for tools were being made in every possible size and shape, especially for working with wood.  The Linear Pottery house-building programme definitely influenced tool production.

But how is it possible to use stones for working on stones – given that they didn’t have any other available materials?

Well, they resorted to sand and water. Wet sand and water make it possible to saw a stone by using another stone.  A flat stone surface that’s been strewn with sand and washed with water can function as a base for polishing a stone implement. We achieve much the same effect, nowadays, with wet sandpaper. For boring, they used rods of elder or hazelwood, depending on whether they wanted to make an indentation or bore right through the stone. Here too, sand and water played their part. 

Grave goods and tool deposits have provided wonderful examples of flat hatchets, axe-heads, shoe-last adze, and clubs. Some of these are excessively large and presumably served as status symbols. We have found entire tool sets in settlement pits, which reveal the various stages in the production process. For instance, larger broken axe-heads were reduced in size and recycled. Blades were made from flint that had been obtained from Ice-Age deposits.  For the first time, flint was also being extracted by mining, because flint knapping is easier when the raw material is fresh. Stone axe-heads and adzes were preferably made of solid rock. The greenstone, known as greenschist, that was found on the South Western side of the “Giant , or Karkonosze Mountains” was especially well suited for felling and hewing trees.  Greenstone, or schist, is a combination of layered and meshed crystals; they can be viewed through our reflected light microscope.