5.2 Stone

As indicated in the introduction to this theme, research into stone artefacts (and other uses of stone) has tended to be undertaken in different ways by different specialists, with some focusing on small, knapped lithics, others on axeheads and similar objects, some on coarse stone tools, etc. With knapped small lithics, the emphasis has tended to be on identifying the châine opératoire and working tradition for the various kinds of stone used, while stone axehead studies - until the advent of Projet JADE on Alpine axeheads - have been dominated by issues of provenancing the raw material. Relatively little use-wear analysis has been undertaken in order to establish how various kinds of stone artefact had been used. The study of stone used in building houses and monuments has not received much attention until recently, when Colin Richards has sought to identify the quarry areas used for the stones in the Ring of Brodgar and Calanais stone circles.

For these reasons, this section is divided into several sub-sections dealing with the different kinds of stone artefact, as follows:

5.2.1 small knapped tools (such as scrapers and blades)

5.2.2 axeheads (plus adze heads and chisels)

5.2.3 Coarse stone artefacts from the Neolithic

5.2.4 ‘special’ artefacts (such as maceheads and carved stone balls – although this is not to deny that some axeheads definitely fell within the ‘special’ category)

5.2.5 stone as used for personal ornamentation

5.2.6 stone used as a building material, and for interior fittings

5.2.7 ‘miscellaneous’ uses of stone (including haematite and ochre)