Most Chinese archaeologists assume that the scapular implements used in the Hemudu culture in eastern China (7000–5000 BP) were the si agricultural implements (tools for breaking ground and turning soils over to assist in seeding) recorded in ancient Chinese literatures and, accordingly, assume the Hemudu culture was a farming society. However, ethnographic and historical literatures worldwide have suggested inconclusive functions for similar implements. We conducted a range of experiments under realistic conditions, including hide and plant processing and earth-working, followed by use-wear analysis, to identify the functions of the Hemudu scapular implements. The results suggest that no more than half of the implements were employed as si and that their penetrability and durability were rather limited. These findings help explain why Hemudu should not be labeled as a farming society. Through experimentation and use-wear analysis, we produced relatively large datasets that make a significant contribution to the identification of soil-derived wear patterns on bone tools. We also included quantitative measurements of soil properties to ensure similarities in use contexts between our experimental and archaeological analogies in order to reach reliable functional identifications. Our approaches and results, therefore, provided a solid base for re-evaluating previous research as well as building a standardized database of scientific value for future evaluation and adjustment, even if that future research is done in isolation and in different soil contexts.