Basalt Adze, Java

Grinding involves rubbing a stone against a more abrasive stone, wearing away the surface and progressively forming the desired shape.  It was often done with water to wash away the dust that was produced, and to keep the dust from clogging up the pores on the grinding stone.  Sometimes grit was added to the grinding slurry to speed up the attrition.


Shaping by Grinding

Grinding was used to finish a variety of stone objects such as bowls, statues, beads and ornaments, clubs, and stone axes and adzes.  Hard, brittle stones such as flint and obsidian were sometimes ground into shape, as were stones like quartz crystal, quartz, quartzite, and jade.  

Slate point 1

Adena Stemmed Point

Axe, Gold Coast

Facetted Axe

Battle axe Germany

Shaft-Hole Battle Axe

Adze NZ jade updated

Stone Adze

Adze from Laos with wrapping

Stone Adze Talisman

Arm ring, Mali

Stone Arm Ring

Axe, Charleville 2

Stone Axe

Stone axe, France AIA 1

Stone Axe

Axe France AIA Seine

Stone Axe

Stone axe, Zug, Switzerland

Stone Axe

Ulu 3, Alaska


Resharpening by Grinding

Grinding was used to resharpen broken edge-ground axes. Soft stone-flaking hammers tended to become pitted and worn through use, and were sometimes re-shaped by grinding.

Axe, Charleville 2

Stone Axe

Ulu with slot


Grinding Use Wear

Grooves from manufacturing and resharpening stone axe are often situated on sandstone bedrock exposures near water.  Water was used to create a slurry to speed up the process of manufacturing and sharpening the edges.  

Axe grinding grooves, France

Axe Grinding Grooves

Muller 1