Piercers and borers

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Tools that have been retouched to a point. Piercers can be made on a flake, blade or a core:
There is no real difference between a piercer and a borer- piercers whose retouched part is short tend to be called borers.

Borers are tools that have been retouched to a point. Borers can be made on a flake, blade or a core. The size of a borer is dependent on the size of the hole that is being manufactured. Borers can be applied to wood, bone and antler (Bay and Staal 2003:23).


Piercer on a blade

is a piercer made on a blank that is a blade

Piercer on a flake

is a piercer made on a blank that is a flake


A drillbit is a piercer or borer that is short and whose morphology indicates that it could have been hafted and used as a drill. It is relatively easy to detect use-wear on drill bits as they have the diagnostic features of rounded points, which can sometimes be seen by the naked eye, and often striations around the point indicating a rotational motion (Grace 1990[1]; Unger-Hamilton et al. 1987[2]).


  1. Grace, R. 1990 Review of The Interpretative Possibilities of Microwear Studies. Proceedings of the International Conference on Lithic Use-wear Analysis, 15th-17th February 1989 in Uppsala, Sweden. Aun 14. Uppsala. p.9-14
  2. Unger-Hamilton, R., Grace, R., Miller, R. and Bergman, C. 1987 Drill bits from Abu Salabikh, Iraq. In La Main et L'Outil: Manches et emmanchements prehistoriques. Travaux de la L'Orient. C.N.R.S.