Indian Stone Tool Technology

Dominican Republic Artifacts

This stone artifact is a tool which was most likely used for agricultural purposes by the Taino Indians. It is made of a basalt lava and is representative a handaxes typically used for chopping.

The illustration above shows a brief analysis of the wear patterns on the agricultural axe. The scares indicated on the bottom are believed to be from natural disturbance or by flaking the tool for small pieces of raw material to be used for other purposes. The wear pattern on the top of the axe shows evidence of general usage as a chopper that once had a fairly sharp edge.

The Adz featured in the photograph (dark stone piece in center of table) and illustration are representative of stone tools that were probably used by the Taino Indians for felling trees and clearing fields. The raw material appears to be lava that has be quarried from large flakes. The end product is a smooth stone adz which is typically hafted to a wooden handle with the use of some sort of vine.

The best representation of how an adz is manufactured is displayed through research in Irian Jaya, New Guinea conducted by Nicholas Toth and Kathy Schick (Indiana University).

A skilled New Guinea adz maker has selected a large flake blank and, with a hammer stone, roughs out a large biface that resembles a handaxe during early stages of manufacture.

A line of New Guinea stone workers at various stages of stone adz manufacture. Note the large handaxelike form in the left foreground and the finished elongated forms at the bottom right, ready for grinding and hafting.

A flaked adz has been ground and plished and is being hafted to a wooden handle using split liana vine as a binding material.

Last updated: 3 October 1996
Comments: Underwater Science Program
Copyright 1996, The Trustees of Indiana University