This chert hammerstone is from Ukraine. It dates to the Neolithic period, ca. 4000-7000 BP.
This hammerstone was originally a chert core that was then used as a hammer for relatively light to moderate percussion activities. Shattering of the stone at impact with hard surfaces embedded shallow Hertzian cones and cracks, and detached small splinters. This attrition and constant rotation during use produced a nearly spherical tool. It is possible that some of the damage was from deliberate pecking to produce this shape. It is unlikely to have been used for very strong blows because of the danger of catastrophically fracturing the chert. The function of the hammerstone is unclear. Archaeologists generally assume that hammers were used in stone-flaking, although hammers were also used in many other activities. Modern experiments suggest that hammers made on cores are especially good at fracturing bones to extract marrow because the sharp edges ‘grip’ the bone, at least initially, before the arrises and edges become heavily rounded.
The Neolithic period in the forest-steppe biomes of Ukraine and neighbouring regions, ca. 4000-7000 BP, saw a series of archaeological cultures practicing a complex mixture of subsistence practices, including animal husbandry, agriculture, and hunter-gathering. These included the Mariupol, Pitted-Comb, Bug-Dniester, and Cucuteni-Trypillia, among others. The complex web of archaeological cultures in Central and Eastern Europe are identified according to differences in burial practices and material culture traits combined with chronological and geographical variations.