Experiment on Quartz Drilling

Keywords: North-West Black Sea, Upper Paleolithic, drilling, flint tools, quartz


During studies of Anetivka-2, the Upper Paleolithic settlement of bison hunters, in addition to numerous flint and bone produced items, a considerable number of quartz produced items are found with tool marks after sawing and drilling. These produced items are the largest in number among non-flint items found at the settlement.

The presence of the above-mentioned findings and assumption of A.V. Hlavenchuk on the use of sand and ochre as an abrasive during the quartz drilling caused the quartz drilling experiment to be conducted during the 2019 fieldwork season. The main purpose of the experiment was to find out the possibility of quartz processing (primarily drilling) using flint tools with the least labor inputs.

Three drills of different shapes (with sharpened tips), made from local flint, and three small pieces of quartz, as well as ochre and sand from local deposits, were prepared for the experiment. The purpose of the experiment was to obtain holes (reach-through or blind) after one hour of drilling with ochre or sand used as an addition and one using no abrasive materials.

The results of the experiment show that direct contact of the flint drill with quartz (without the use of addition) promotes the making of a rather deep hole (0.5 mm), unlike the holes that are made with the help of ochre and sand using as an addition (0.3 mm). Sand during the drilling process does not contribute to the deepening of the hole in quartz. The working part of the flint tool (drill) during the drilling process with sand is completely exhausted, which makes it impossible to deepen the hole. The result of the drilling with the use of pigment ochre as an abrasive is almost indistinguishable from the result of the experiment where sand is used. The only difference is in the working part of the tool – after drilling with sand the flint is trimmed, and becomes coarse, while the working part of the tool during drilling with ochre eventually gets a smoother rounded shape.

The experiment calls into question the assumption that the prehistoric inhabitants of Anetivka-2 used sand and pigmented ochre as an abrasive during quartz drilling since quartz drilling without the use of any additions shows the best results.


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How to Cite
Galkin, R. (2020). Experiment on Quartz Drilling. Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (1(29), 225-229. https://doi.org/10.33782/eminak2020.1(29).389
Stone Age