Artifact 1

Handaxe and Tektites from Bose, China

“Smithsonian scientists and their Chinese colleagues found this and other handaxes in the same sediment layer with tektites, small rocks that formed during a meteor impact 803,000 years ago.”

“Since the handaxes and tektites were in the same layer, both are the same age. Early humans must have moved into the area right after the impact. They may have made the handaxes from rocks that were exposed when forests burned.”

Image Credit: James Di Loreto & Donald H. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution

Handaxe and Tektites from Bose, China

Exhibit Item at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Date of discovery: 1996

Discovered by: A team led by Hou Yamei and Rick Potts

Site: Bose, China

Contemporary Technology: Axe

Though the look has changed (there is a handle and they’re made of metal, making them sturdier and smoother), axes largely do the same as the handaxes of pre-historic times. With the discovery of metallurgy, axes were made more efficient and easier to wield than their ancient rock counterparts.