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The Stone Tools of Texas Indians exhibit was developed and written by Dr. Thomas R. Hester. All of the photographs were taken by TARL staff photographer Milton Bell. Most of the specimens are housed at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory.

Tom Hester is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and former director of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at UT Austin as well as of the Center for Archaeological Research at UT San Antonio. First and foremost a teacher, he has introduced thousands of undergraduates to Texas archeology and helped hundreds of graduate students complete advanced degrees. He has also always worked closely with avocational archeologists and is a Fellow of the Texas Archeological Society and co-founder of the Southern Texas Archaeological Society. A prolific researcher and author, Hester has written and edited dozens of books and hundreds of reports and articles on subjects ranging from Texas archeology to stone tools, Egyptian heavy transport, Great Basin archeology, California Indians, and Maya lithics.

Hester is an internationally recognized expert on lithic, or stone tool, technology, an interest that began when he was a high school student in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Throughout his career he has followed this interest everywhere he has gone. In Texas, he is best known to the public for the book he wrote with Ellen Sue Turner, The Stone Tools of Texas Indians. An earlier book, Digging into South Texas Prehistory, was one of the first popular accounts on Texas archeology. Indeed, Tom Hester has traveled much of the state giving public talks to civic groups and archeological societies as well as working closely with landowners. Today he and wife Lynda live on the banks of the upper Seco Creek somewhere west of San Antonio surrounded by burned rock middens, a common theme in his long-term research efforts in south-central Texas.


The website from the University at Buffalo (New York) is the ultimate resource for those interested in almost any aspect of stone tools and lithic analysis. It contains links to virtually all other lithic-related websites that are worth knowing about. It does not contain links to sites of those who buy, sell, or trade artifacts.

Sources on Stone Tools and Stone Tool Study

Banks, Larry
1990 From Mountain Peaks to Alligator Stomachs: A Review of Lithic Sources in the Trans-Mississippi South, the Southern Plains, and Adjacent Southwest. Oklahoma Anthropological Society, Memoir No. 4.

Unfortunately, this study has been out of print for several years.

Hudler, Dale
1997 Determining Clear Fork Function through Use-wear Analysis. Master's thesis, The University of Texas at Austin.

Available through TARL

Turner, Ellen Sue, and Thomas R. Hester
1999 Stone Artifacts of Texas Indians. Second Edition 1993, reprinted 1999. Texas Monthly Field Guide Series, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston.

Most of the artifacts featured in the Photo Gallery are discussed in this well-known guide, although a few tools, such as the Jowell Knives, are not yet in the latest revision.

Whittaker, John C.

1994 Flintknapping, Making and Understanding Stone Tools. University of Texas Press, Austin.

A well-illustrated guide to flintknapping, with text written in an easy and accessible style using many examples from the author's work in Arizona and other areas.