Using scratch mark patterns to determine the degree of use, nature and direction of motion of stone tools

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Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge

Scratches and direction of motion
Scratch interpretation of individual axeheads
Active and passive cutting edges
Velocity / impact and scratches


direction of motion

Scratch line details and interpretation

Axe One

axehead #1 side A

#1 side A thermally metamorphosed Quartzite
hached area is a local identification mark,
wide edge and robust design indiate heavy work
 axehead #1 side B

#1 side B shows handle attachment grove, location Herberton Q

Axe Two

axehead #2 side A
#2 side A quartzite, horizontal bedding plane still evident,
medium edge angle indicated medium to soft material cut with this axe

axehead #2 side B
#2 side B nick at top is handle attachment point, location Herberton Q

Axe Three

axehead #3 side A

#3 side A rhyolite lava, highly polished possibly ceremonial,
nick on top for handle, sharp edge used for soft materials
axehead #3 side B

#3 side B fine curving grinding marks visible, location Herberton Q

Axe Four

axehead #4 side A

#4 side A greywacke, trade item from 1000km distant, very regular shape,

 we retrace the trade route using terrian analysis

axehead #4 side B

#4 side B possibly Kalkadoon from Mt. Isa area, wear scratches
on one edge only indicated one active and one passive cutting surface
 i.e. it chops stuff off from one end rather than from the middle,
origin near Mt. Isa, Q approx 1000km from where it was found in Herberton Q

Axe Five

grinding stone #5 side A

#5 side A , grinding stone , circles are 360 million year old crinoid fossils(stem parts)
 , has green malachite stain, since malachite (copper mineral)
 is toxic could not have been used for food

 axehead #5 side B

#5 side B dashed line show boundary between pitted crushing pattern
 and smooth rolling surface, origin Chillagoe,
approx 150 km from where it was found in Herberton Q

Active and Passive Cutting Edges

active and passive edges of axeheads

highest velocity = greatest impact