Use-wear analysis aims to identify manufacturing technologies, use and functionality of archaeological artifacts through the analysis of macro and microscopic modifications of the original surfaces of such artifacts occurring during the manufacture processes and use as well. These modifications are visible in realms of fractures, abrasion, polishes, residues, and striation among others and are firstly documented by experimental replication in order to establish a use-wear reference collection that can be used for comparison with archaeological materials.
Each manufacturing process and use of artifacts made of a variety of materials such as stone, bone, ceramic, metal originate a specific set of macro and microscopic modifications. By identifying how and on what artifacts were used use-wear analysis allows to infer on past human activities and identify the manner in which the humans have organized themselves in their cultural and natural contexts. It has the ability to provide information to infer on past human behaviors associated with such artifacts, for which sometimes there is no archaeological preservation.