I've been lurking in the shadows for the past few months, too down in the dumps (for various reasons) to shape myself and post anything, but I have been doing some FutureLearn courses -- The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books; The Living Picture Craze: An Introduction to Victorian Film; Preserving Norweigian Stave Churches; Walter Scott: The Man Behind the Monument; Exploring Japanese Avant-garde Art Through Butoh Dance*; Pictures of Youth (children's book illustration, etc); The Tudors; Many Faces: Understanding the Complexities of Chinese Culture; Modern Sculpture; and... Homo Floresiensis Uncovered (the hobbit!) -- and, at the weekend, in an attempt to help a fellow Learner see the difference between a core tool and a flake tool, I took some pictures of my Lovely Little Stone Tool.
* Maybe the strangest stuff I've ever seen, reaching deep into the parts of Japanese culture I might never have wanted to know about. There was some interesting early 20th century Japanese painting worth exploring, though.
Then I thought some of my f-list might like to see my Lovely Little Stone Tool, too.
I found it amongst some gravel that had been spread along the riverbank at Ely. Assuming I've read the textbooks right, it's called a 'burin', made (I learned at the weekend) by a process called 'burination', where the maker strikes flakes off the edge of a stone core. On the ventral or interior surface (the bit that's originally inside the stone core), the shock waves create a bulb of percussion -- a rounded swelling -- which you can see at the bottom (in the picture below), followed by a series of ripples. It was finding a bulb of percussion that originally convinced me it was a genuine tool, though I'm now beginning to wonder whether it's actually the result of a modern experiment, because it's all so fresh and sharp. The edges are so thin they're almost translucent.
This is the dorsal surface, which would have been on the outside of the core.
You can see where two earlier flakes have been struck off, and I think those are the 'sockets of percussion' -- not sure if that's really a thing! -- left behind when the flakes broke away, at the bottom left and (not quite as visible in the photo) at the bottom right.
It's 6cm high, just under 3cm at its widest, and about 0.5cm at its thickest, and it fits very nicely in my hand.
I love it, so I do hope it's genuinely ancient!