This page deals with ethnographic examples of bone artefacts. It is edited and maintained by Elisabeth Ann Stone (University of New Mexico, USA).

Please contact her for enquiries, contributions etc.

Bone tools, aside from being common elements of archaeological sites, continue to be used today in a diversity of cultural contexts and were a common part of the material culture of communties documented in the ethnographic record of the 19th and 20th century.

In this section of the WBRG webpage you will find information concerning ethnographically documented uses of osseous artifacts and sources for both systematic and anecdotal evidence.


Sources for ethnographic documentation come in a range of forms, in particular material culture collections, ethnographies, ethnohistories, and anecdotes.

Museum collections

Museums of anthropology, history, natural history, and culturally specific communities all curate collections of bone tools. Many museums make information, photos, or archives available online.

Here are links to museums with significant ethnographic worked bone collections. Please submit other links for inclusion.

Collected Anecdotes

Anecdotes submitted by WBRG members can be found here.

Please submit your anecdotal evidence to for inclusion. If you include pictures, please make sure that you have the permission of the people pictured and the owners of the tools to use their photo this way. Thanks!

Alice Choyke developed a questionnaire for ethnographic bone objects. Anybody working with ethnographic bone objects or being in contact with people doing so is welcome to download the questionnaire and return the answers to Alice at

Questionaire ethno bone objects



Please submit articles, anecdotes, museums, etc for submission to this site.  Submissions can be sent to  Thanks!