Launch of the Museum of Stone Tools

Museum of Stone Tools

Welcome to the Museum of Stone Tools!

The Museum of Stone Tools is an outcome of the Covid 19 lockdown in Australia in 2020.  With fieldwork plans stymied,  I brainstormed how I could wait out the pandemic in a useful and engaged way.  An obvious option was to do something meaningful with the University of New England’s growing collection of online 3D models of stone artefacts.

So I decided to build a one-stop online venue where anyone with an internet connection could take a deep-dive into the world of stone-flaking technology.  The concept was to move beyond the ‘oh wow’ aspect of spinning virtual model by providing a context for drilling down into those stone tools and interrogating them—to think more deeply about these objects from the past.  The organising theme would be  how stone tools were made, starting with the tools of our earliest ancestors and extending right through to modern flintknappers.  

I built the first Museum of Stone Tools (MoST) on the free website platform Wix.  While MoST 1.0 looked fine and worked okay, I quickly ran up against the website’s maximum capacity for pages.  I never made it public.  Instead I enlisted our archaeology graduate, Michelle Richards, to build MoST 2.0 using WordPress.  Her work developing this new platform has provided us a solid foundation for future growth.  Archaeology student Sandy Pullen helped immensely with technical tweaking.  Emma Watt created many new photogrammetric models of artefacts and also trained our undergraduate students in the process.  Our students’ excellent models are now beginning to appear in the Museum.

We continue to seek the loan of artefacts to model—or the models themselves—so we can extend the depth and breadth of our coverage.  If you study the Map, you will see that we have multiple models from some regions, but other regions are under-represented.  This is also true of many time periods, artefact types, and material classes.  

We particularly need models from East Asia, South Asia, South America, and the Pacific, so let us know if you have models you can donate.  We would also love to have modern flintknappers give us models of their work for us to display.  We can make the models in our photogrammetry lab if you are willing to send us artefacts on short-term loan.

MoST is a labour of love and not well-resourced, so please support us by ‘buying a coffee’ or purchasing MoST’s branded merchandise.  Proceeds go directly to the costs of hosting the site and maintaining the photogrammetric equipment and software licenses.  

MoST is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and has also launched a YouTube channel for stone-flaking videos.  Please follow us and share posts on those platforms so we can attract more visitors to the site.

So now, after nearly 3 years of development, we’ve arrived at the official launch.  I hope you enjoy the Museum!  And if you have any comments—good or bad—please contact me.  

—Mark Moore, MoST Director and Curator