We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Microlith?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A microlith is a small tool made of flint or rock. Generally, these types of flint tools measure between 1 and 3 cm (0.39 to 1.18 inches) in length, and less than 0.5 cm (0.19 inches) in width. The microlith dates to the Mesolithic period, or Middle Stone Age, which dates from roughly 10,000 to 4,000 BC. During this period, nomadic tribes relied on the microlith as they engaged in the hunter-gatherer lifestyle common to the period. Many microlith examples have been found throughout Europe and Asia, and these tools provide valuable insight into ancient man and prehistory.

Stone Age man made microliths by breaking apart lengths of flint. They often shaped the tools using rocks to create a sharp edge, or simply took advantage of natural sharp edges on some units. The most basic microlith featured a narrow, straight blade with a pointed end, similar to a modern knife. Later versions came in many different shapes, and are commonly referred to as geometric monoliths. By examining the shape and size of each tool, researchers can often date the unit to a specific period or group of ancient people.

Geometric microliths came in a variety of shapes and sizes, and were formed using rocks or other rudimentary tools. The lunate microlith took the form of a half moon, with the rounded edge used for cutting and chopping. Triangular microliths provided multiple points to serve as backup if one became damaged. These triangular units were also useful for penetrating further into an animal or enemy than was possible using a standard weapon of the time. Some ancient people also used square or rectangular tools, while trapezoidal versions were common during the later part of the Middle Stone Age.

The nomadic people of the time used the microlith in a variety of ways, and relied on this tool for hunting and protection. Generally, these flint tools were too small to use alone, and had to be fastened to another object to make them more practical for everyday use. These small pieces of flint often served as arrowheads or spearheads for hunting and fishing. They could also be attached for bone or wooden handles for use as a weapon or cutting tool.

Some modern scientists believe that the microlith helped to spur population growth during the Stone Age. These small tools were easy to make and could be transported over a long distance, making them much more practical than earlier tools, which were large and bulky. This allowed more members of the tribe to stay involved in a hunt, resulting in greater food supplies for all.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.