Antler was also the best material for needles and small items like tweezers that needed some flexibility.
Bone was more plentiful, being surplus from meat production, but was less strong. Larger
surfaces were available from shoulder blades and since the long bones were hollow small boxes and containers were often made from bone.
Ivory was available from walrus tusks and whale teeth. There is also evidence that elephant ivory was sometimes used for precious works. The great advantage of ivory for the ancient carver was the thickness of the material and the beauty of finish possible.
The tools for
working bone were simple and readily available. Knives, files, saws, awls and scribers were almost all that were needed to produce the finely decorated artefacts that can be seen in many of our museums.