Museum of Anthropology Receives Impressive Stone Tools

Kristi Galloway
News Source: 
College of Arts & Science

Christmas came early this year for the Museum of Anthropology.  An anonymous donor gave 700 stone tools from Africa and Europe to the museum.

The extensive collection includes Oldowan chopping tools, Acheulean hand axes, as well as other artifacts. In addition, several of the pieces are made from rare Libyan desert glass. When Candace Sall, associate curator, first opened the crates of donated tools, she felt like it was Christmas morning. “Each crate was more impressive than the last,” she says.

Anthropology students often learn about prehistoric stone tools in class through PowerPoint lecture slides. Now, scholars will have the opportunity to hold stone tools from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods and view them personally at Missouri’s only museum of anthropology.

“Our students learn about these tools in lecture, but to actually be able to hold a 1.5 million year-old tool changes everything,” says Sall. “It is important to see the variation between the tools in their shapes and raw materials.” These interesting nuances are more obvious when the tools are viewed first-hand, which is precisely why the anonymous donor chose to give them to the museum.

The museum currently has more than 35,000 artifacts, including the world’s largest archery collection. The 700 African and European stone tools are a welcome addition. “This collection fills a gap in our Old World collections,” says Sall. This new collection will allow the museum to display stone tools from around the world so students and researchers can study them.

The collection will be available for public viewing once the Museum of Anthropology opens at Mizzou North. Please contact Candace Sall at with questions about the collection.

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