Paleolithic tools played a major role in the success of ancient Egypt. Because metal tools were hard to come by due to their cost, lithic tools were very common in Egypt at this time. Materials such as chert, sandstone, and quarts were all used to make stone tools. These tools were used in bead making, cosmetic palettes, stone vessels, and other crafts. But where did these raw materials come from?
In the Lower Paleolithic period, many tools were found near the source of the stone obtained by Egyptians. While in the Middle Paleolithic, tools were found to have been quite distant from the original natural resources they came from. Finding tools far from their original sources shows expansion and travel throughout Egypt at this time. There is evidence that there were surface and underground mines for stone where these pieces were made from.
This evidence shows how important context is in archaeology. If these tools had been dug up and removed before properly documented, which was a very common occurrence during European expansion, we would not know the sources of these stones. Context has been a huge issue with the removal of artifacts by self proclaimed archaeologists and looters who do not properly document their discoveries.
Over time, size, shape, and purpose of these lithics changed through specialization and new tools emerged. New techniques of flaking we introduced to improve the function of these stone tools for a particular task at hand. These specialized flaking techniques would have required particular skills needed to efficiently shape the blades of these tools.
Without stone tools, the people of ancient Egypt may not have been as successful as they were. By excavating communities and finding lithic remains, archaeologists can better understand who the people were at this time and how they survived, grew, and sustained as a whole.