Flake Tools

Old Stone Age

Espinosa Ranch Site, Cagayan
16000-8000 BC



Early man fashioned implements for survival from stones he found in the riverbeds. Flake tools and cobble tools were the earliest implements he made during the Palaeolithic (or Old Stone Age) Period. He used these tools as knives and scrapers.

The proof of earliest manís presence was recovered from a ranch site in Cagayan Province-two flake tools dated about .9 million years, the oldest man-made object associated with the fossils of a proboscidean, a prehistoric elephant.

Flake tools are stone implements made by ancient man during the Paleolithic Age until the Early Metal Age. The stone tool is produced by striking the core of a stone with a stone hammer (direct percussion) or by using a stone hammer with bone or wood as an intermediate object between the hammer and the potential stone tool (indirect percussion). By means of indirect percussion, the toolmaker can control the size and the shape of each chip. A flake can also be made by using pressure. The toolmaker pushes or pries small flakes from the surface of the stone tool using a piece of wood or bone. This method results in precise flaking and the creation of fine, sharp-edged tools. Flake tools fashioned by ancient Filipinos were used as knives, scrapers and other implements.

Many of the flake tools recovered in Tabon Caves, Palawan were made from chert, a hard stone commonly found in the nearby riverbeds of Quezon, Palawan. Flake tools used during the Palaeolithic Age dated 16,000-8,000 B.C.were found in Laurente Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan. Stone tools were also unearthed in Bolobok Cave, Sanga-Sanga in Tawi-Tawi (southern Philippines) and from other sites in Penablanca, Cagayan (northern Philippines) such as Musang Cave, Callao Cave and Rabel Cave. Up to the Early Metal Age, flake tools were still used as evidenced by the recovery of a stone tool in Pintu Cave, Isabela.


This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
National Museum of the Philippines
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