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Microlithic can refer either to lithic technology applied to smaller raw material nodules - for example microblades, or to a set of tool types, which is the focus of this article: 

Very small geometric-form tools commonly used in composite tools. Formed from prismatic blades, using the sharp unmodified lateral edges as the cutting edge (Crabtree 1982:43[1]).

Microliths are very small stone artifacts usually made from sections of small blades. They were too small to be used by themselves and would have been set into wooden or bone handles to make composite tools, some of which have been found (Whittaker 1994:37[2]).

Microliths are often made on blanks produced by the micro-burin technique. Though microlith is often used for any small retouched tool a more strict definition is that the bulb of percussion was removed i.e. the microlith was made on a section of a blade/bladelet, and that at least two adjacent edges should be retouched. For geometric microliths this means that the shape was deliberately made into a geometric shape. Otherwise naturally tapering blades that are retouched may be classified as triangular microliths, when the triangular shape is merely fortuitous.

Not to be confused with microburins - see article.


Lanceolate microliths

Lanceolate microliths are microliths retouched to a point, usually with oblique retouch. They are synonymous with 'obliquely blunted points' of the English Mesolithic.


Lunate microliths

Lunate microliths are retouched to a half moon or crescent shape.


Triangular microliths

Triangular microliths are microliths retouched to a triangular shape. They can be sub-divided into scalene and isosceles triangles.


Trapezoid microliths

Trapeze microliths are microliths retouched to a trapeze shape. Not too be confused with transverse points.

Rectangular microliths

Rectangle microliths are microliths retouched to a rectangular shape.

Rhomboid microliths

Rhomboid microliths are microliths retouched to a rhomboid shape.



  1. Crabtree, Don E. 1982 An Introduction to Flintworking. Occasional Papers of the Idaho Museum of Natural History 28.
  2. Whittaker, J.C. 1994 Flint knapping: making and understanding stone tools. University of Texas Press, Austin.