Knives and Daggers
Stone knives were essential tools throughout prehistory. A stone knife that was hafted onto a handle would often have the proximal end of the tool modified to fit within the handle.
Stone knives were often (but not always) hafted onto a handle, and the proximal end of the tool was frequently modified—thinned, notched, or narrowed—to fit within the handle and to facilitate gluing or lashing.
Stone knives in many parts of the world were made on blanks made by flaking across both surfaces, called bifaces. A cutting edge was present on both edges of the knife. These two-edged bifacial tools are called ‘daggers’ in European convention; in North America, the term ‘biface’ is often used, or the misleading term ‘point’.
The label ‘knife’ should be considered cautiously, as there is not an unequivocal difference in shape or size between bifacial tools used as spear or dart points, and those used as knives. Indeed, some of these bifacial tools may have been used for both projectiles and knives, as observed historically in the Kimberley region of Australia.
Archaeologists can sometimes infer that a tool was used as a knife from the way it was resharpened. Use-wear analysts can a knife by the micro-wear left behind on the tool’s edges.