Flint Drill (Microlith)

56.21.426.3

On display

Flint drill microlith used in the manufacture of beads for jewellery. Long flake with notch at either side of base, to form point. The manufacturing of stone beads for jewellery was a major industry in ancient Egypt. The eastern desert was rich in supplies of blood-red carnelian that was very easy to break into circular shapes. Boring holes into the beads using rotating flint drills set into wooden handles was the hardest part of the job. Once polished the beads were ready for stringing into necklaces. In 1899 Sir Flinders Petrie gave Charles Flaxman Spurrell a selection of tiny stone tools (microliths) and stone and shell beads in various states of completion from Hierakonpolis, excavated by James Quibell and F. W. Green between 1897 and 1899.