It is now generally accepted that there are no human societies which are truly egalitarian; this also true of bonobos and chimpanzees, among whom rank is inherited. If it were true of the common ancestor of Homo and Pan, there would have been (inherited) social inequality throughout our hominin ancestry. The problem is how to find it. It is also accepted that artefacts play an active and important role in our social lives; thus, socially defined differences may be reflected among the very simplest of artefacts. A case study of flaked stone from southwestern Egypt, dating to about 7000–8000 years ago, suggests that social differences can, indeed, be identified within very simple artefacts — in this case, plain, unmodified stone flakes. Using unmodified stone flakes, I explore the possibility of identifying not merely social difference but, specifically, inherited social difference in the Upper Palaeolithic of Europe and among early African hominins more than 2,000,000 years ago.