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originally posted by: bottleslingguy
if they already had a hard tool to hit the stone with how did they make the "hard tool"? How do they know the flake wasn't the result of an impact with no intentions of using the piece for a tool? so something hard hit the stone and made the flake? a lot of guessing and speculation going on here.
a reply to: Pistoche
A 'geofact' is a piece of rock that has been naturally broken, as opposed to o that was broken by purposef human agency. The word is what linguists call a 'back formation' from the word artifact, of course; artifacts are products of human behaviors, while geofacts are products of natural forces.
These are important to distinguish in particular at very very old sites, where the implications of misidentifying broken rock as artifacts are pretty serious. As a result, there are a few rules archaeologists use to sort out geofacts from artifacts. By the way, the flip side of identifying geofacts is identifying systematic flaking--the characteristics of human working.
Your artifact is probably a geofact if two or more of the following are true.
There are four or fewer flake scars. A flake (aka waste flake or debitage) is what archaeologists call a tiny fragment of stone broken off a larger stone. A flake scar is the dent made on a piece of rock from where a small fragment was removed. Flake scars can occur naturally, when rocks bang against each other in a rock slide or within a streambed; but more than four begins to look intentional.
See Also: Lithics and Lithic Analysis
There is no platform preparation. Precise control of stone flaking is an important part of stone tool manufacture. Evidence that a flat place was created on a piece of stone from which to knock off additional flakes is a sure sign of human activity.
The flake scars are weathered at different rates. Weathering is the term used to describe the effects of long-term exposure to climatic events. All exposed surfaces of an untouched stone should weather at the same rate. Depending on the climate and the type of rock, it takes many centuries or millennia for weathering to be apparent. If a stone has several flakes removed, and the flake scars are differently weathered, you know there was a large quantity of time passed between flaking events, and so not likely human.
The flake scars occur randomly on the rock. Flaking scars made on stone by human beings are likely to be patterned, rather than random.
originally posted by: MysterX
a reply to: Pistoche
So...a natural process like a flood, earthquake, eruption, meteorite impact, landslide and just about anything else that can move rocks and earth couldn't possibly have done this???
I find that too bizarre frankly.
Picture picking up a flint, throwing it away with force, and that flint smacking into another rock with force...that's how easy it is to make a flint flake that shows signs of it being struck with force. ALL of those natural forces and plenty more besides could have struck the stone that flake is from, so how these 'experts' jumped to the conclusion this is evidence of early hominid tool making is more than a stretch.
NOT to say that it couldn't be exactly as they say, but i am saying that it is certainly not the only method of flaking flint and many ways, sans clever hominids, are the more likely scenarios to how this came about.
Give it a try, loads of flint in the southeast, dig it up or visit a chalk quarry.
Throwing stones is the crappest possible way to flake rocks, you need to carry the blow through the stone to detach flakes consistently, otherwise you get crushed edges and incipient cones.