I love a good pun. An exhausted core is a piece of rock that has had so many flakes knocked off of it during the process of flint knapping, that it can’t be used for anything else. So, it gets thrown out. And falls asleep (har har).
Hammerstones can have a real attitude problem, but those cores can have quite the temper.
When a hammerstone and a core fall in love . . .Flint Knapping is the process of using a hammerstone (a small rock/cobble) and hitting it against a type of rock (i.e. a core), like obsidian or chert, that breaks into nice small pieces (i.e. flakes) that can be further worked into tools like scrapers, spear points, projectile points, knives, etc.
You wouldn’t think simply walking across the landscape looking for tiny flakes, bits of pottery, and the occasional structure, would be dangerous–well, you’d be wrong. It is surprisingly dangerous. Trees just appear out of NOWHERE!
I actually had this conversation at a party–okay, it’s a little exaggerated, but this person really had skull fragments and artifacts from a site he visited back in the 1970s. He said the site had been badly looted, so what did it matter if he took stuff, too? Everyone else was doing it. I kept hinting at repatriation and how wrong it is to steal artifacts, but it fell on deaf ears. People need to understand that it’s both unethical and illegal to remove artifacts from archaeological sites. It doesn’t matter if ‘everyone is doing it.’