Both quartz and silcrete cobbles are abundant in the stony desert regions of western New South Wales, Australia and were used by Aboriginal people who occupied these regions from the mid to late Holocene. Archaeologists often characterise quartz as an inferior material for flaking when compared to silcrete, but Aboriginal people made intensive use of both materials. Here, we investigate the degree to which archaeologists can draw inferences about the choices people made in the past regarding the selection and use of different raw materials. Different types of raw material (i.e. microcrystalline silcretes and macrocrystalline quartzes) were flaked more or less intensively, but it is the utilization of the products of this flaking, not simply their manufacture, that allows inferences to be made about past intentions.