Archaeology / Paleolithic Age / Niigata

Place excavated:From Araya Site, Araya, Nishikawaguchi, Nagaoka-shi, Niigata

Paleolithic period, 16000 BC



Tool-making techniques markedly improved toward the end of the Paleolithic period, with the maintenance of these tools also systematized. These gravers were used to make spears for hunting. They functioned like knives, with their sharpened blade-like edges used to whittle down objects. At that time, the tips of spears were made of bone or horns, with sharp microliths inserted into grooves etched in the side of the tips. These gravers were used to sharpen the tips and work on the spear handles.

They are made of shale, a hard, difficult-to-break rock, but they would still become blunt through use. However, they could be re-used as blades by whittling down the blunted section and sharpening a new edge. In this way, they could be used repeatedly for a long time. They paint a picture of how the Paleolithic people maintained their spears and tools as they travelled around in search of food.

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