Flint-based stone tools, raw material provenience, and migration patterns

The manufacture of stone tools is one of the most important milestones in the hominin evolutionary trajectory. Stone tools provided hominins with an adaptive advantage over other animals in terms of their hunting/feeding strategies. Archaeological records show that since the Oldowan, hominins were selective in what they chose to use as raw materials for the fabrication of stone tools, compared to all available rocks and even between the same rock types. This selective behavior suggests a spatial knowledge of their surrounding environment, in particular, the location of flint quarries from which specific raw flint types seemed to have been explored to meet their purposes (e.g. for flintknapped tools) and needs (e.g. cutting, hunting).

Using single-cell-like analysis in combination with genomics, metabolomics, proteomics and artificial intelligence approaches, we explore the (bio)chemical signatures of raw material and flint-based stone tools that serve as proxies for retrieving selective behaviors of raw material choices and mobility patterns across different hominin species (e.g. Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens).