Is this a Prehistoric hammerstone?

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Alan 13~7

Settler
Oct 2, 2014
572
5
Prestwick, Scotland
I may be wrong BUT I am pretty sure I have a prehistoric hammerstone.

In archaeology, a hammerstone is a universal stone tool, it would have been used for knapping flint, reducing minerals like haematite to powder, for pigment, and cracking hard nuts, such as hazel nuts, to extract the edible kernels.

I found it when I was 16 years old Working as a jobbing joiner, on a Youth opportunities programme , digging a hole for a septic tank, it was around 8' foot down in clay soil, I found nothing else.

Suspecting it to be a Stone Age tool I have kept it for over 30 years

So let’s look at the facts:~
It’s a hard cobble, Ovoid in shape, material is possibly quartzite, it fits perfectly in the hand, & it has visible signs of repeated impact marks on one end....

So how do I find out about it & what should I do with it?

Any ideas????
 
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Palaeocory

Forager
Can you upload a few pictures? I'm a Palaeolithic archaeologist and have experience excavating some quartzite hammerstones in my time... it would be interesting to see! My husband (also a Palaeolithic archaeologist) actually has a keen interest in hammerstones and has done some experimental work looking at the impact fractures on different materials used as hammers in knapping. I could show him and we'll tell you what we think. We probably won't be able to confirm anything, but will be able to tell you if it definitely isn't one ;)
 

Alan 13~7

Settler
Oct 2, 2014
572
5
Prestwick, Scotland
Can you upload a few pictures? I'm a Palaeolithic archaeologist and have experience excavating some quartzite hammerstones in my time... it would be interesting to see! My husband (also a Palaeolithic archaeologist) actually has a keen interest in hammerstones and has done some experimental work looking at the impact fractures on different materials used as hammers in knapping. I could show him and we'll tell you what we think. We probably won't be able to confirm anything, but will be able to tell you if it definitely isn't one ;)

23148155549_22252e604c_z.jpg

wow brilliant, am I aloud to get a little excited now? This is it in the hand. the impact area facing camera, (not the best photo, taken indoors with flash) I will upload a few pictures taken in natural light, if your interested in giving me some feed back I would appreciate that.... the light is not great today I will try anyway

23487991996_c166797ff8_z.jpg

some scores on one this side other side smooth almost polished possibly coincidence but there are dents in the smooth side of the stone which appear to comfortably line up with the fingers when grabbing/holding the stone as I imagine it might be used....

23406218832_5482d7165f_z.jpg

This seems to be the main impact area, you may not be able to see it in the photo but the impact zone is a crater & is about 1mm deep

23514100395_9bf9708513_z.jpg


hope these are helpful Thanks so much Alan
 
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Alan 13~7

Settler
Oct 2, 2014
572
5
Prestwick, Scotland
it does sound likley...what soil was it found in? Does it relate to the local geology?

it was around 8' foot down in clay soil very wet, I hit bed rock at about 9' it was a tennis court adjacent to a cottage that I was modernising I had to drain the water out every morning before tackling the bed rock.
A huge lump of granite, I broke 4 pneumatic drill bits & used 5 gallon of diesel a day pumping out the water & trying to smash the granite & hardly even touched it, tried with a Jcb pneumatic hammer but the jib wasn't long enough, in the end they settled for a shallow run off for the tank...

"Does it relate to the local geology?" I don't know, it was dug up in the small conservation village of Symington in South Ayrshire Scotland. It is located in Symington Parish, covering 0.41sq Km, and lies close to the A77 road from Ayr to Glasgow. Its church, built in 1160, remains one of the finest examples of a Norman churches in Scotland.
 
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Palaeocory

Forager
Hm the scoring and all over battering (and the fact it's been broken in half at some point and the edges rounded probably due to water action) looks just due to ocean waves and been part of a beach level during some of its life. The crater bit doesn't look like knapping impact fracture, knapping will be a more spread out circular 'roughness', concentrated at the distal (pointier) ends of the stone. If you rub your thumb over the end pointy bit, is it rougher than the sides, like it's been 'pecked'?

I can't say it's never been used in knapping activity before, but I'm afraid I don't see any signs of it having been. It would probably make a good hammerstone though, quartz/quartzite is nice and hard. However it looks like there are some internal inconsistencies in the rock and it might break after using it for not too long!

One thing you can do is get some similar quartzite pebbles and break rocks with it... then check out what kind of damage you see on it. You'll get that localized rough patch on the pointier ends (and maybe a big flake coming off after it finally gives out and breaks).
 

Alan 13~7

Settler
Oct 2, 2014
572
5
Prestwick, Scotland
Hi thanks for your time, so maybe not a hammer stone then. The distal (pointier) ends of the stone? is that what I called the impact crater? then possibly a bit rougher yes but still looks & feels relatively smooth as smooth as the inside if the rock but I wouldn't say rough like fine sand paper... & kind of looks like it has been pecked... sort of more like a bruised apple
 
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