Stone and Shell Adzes

New Stone Age

Cagayan, Palawan, Isabela, and Pampanga
~2680 BC

Prehistoric man used ground and polished stone tools. It is believed that a stone adze shaped like an upper front incisor could be found where lightning hit a tree. Today, these stone implements are associated with thunder and lightning. Locally they are called ngipe’t duldug (thunder tooth), tango han linti (lightning tooth), and dila latik (light-ning tongue).

The polished stone adzes that are oval in cross-section were made and used by the people during the Early Neolithic period. Ground stone tools typical of the ‘Quadrangular Adze Culture’ on the other hand, were found in a late Neolithic jar burial site. They are believed to be used for woodworking. These are small, ground and polished adzes of fine grained stones which are rectangular or trapezoidal in cross-section.

The stone adzes were found in Arku Cave, in Penablanca, Cagayan; Duyung Cave in Palawan; Dimolit, Isabela; and Candaba, Pampanga.

In places where stones were not available, shells were used to make tools. Shell adzes were fashioned from hinges of giant clams (Tridacna gigas and Tridacna maxima) and polished into different shapes. Shell adzes found in Duyong Cave, Palawan were dated 2680 B.C. Shell tools were also found in Balobok rock shelter, Sanga-Sanga, Tawi-Tawi; and in Bato Cave, Sorsogon. Those recovered in Palawan and Sanga-Sanga, Tawi-Tawi were similar to those in the Pacific specially Micronesia and Ryukyu group of islands and in Okinawa, Southern Japan. The use of polished stone tools persisted until the Metal Age. Stone implements used during the Metal Age were recovered from other sites namely Manga Site, in Andarayan and Lal-lo, Cagayan.

This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
National Museum of the Philippines
Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila, Philippines