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PHOTOS ABOVE AND BELOW SHOW IRON MINERAL DEPOSITS ON THE FLAKED FACES AND THEIR EDGES - A TRAIT THAT WILL NOT BE FOUND ON MODERN FAKES

VERY RARE EARLY PROTO-HAND AXE EUROPEAN OLDOWAN CHOPPER TOOL

River Terraces of Haute-Garonne, Southwest France

LOWER PALEOLITHIC PERIOD:  600,000 - 400,000 years ago

Of all the rare primitive human stone tools we could offer, pebble tools from the first humans to occupy Europe are perhaps the most rare.  Unlike the Oldowan Gorge in Africa where pebble tools abound and in many cases lay clearly exposed, European sites are VERY rare and scattered since the pebble tool technology had already been superseded by the proliferation of Acheulian bifacial handaxes roughly three quarters of a million years earlier!  Oddly enough, these two traditions were brought into Europe by Homo erectus moving north up from Africa.  Both traditions existed for a limited time together at the beginning of human existence in Europe with pebble tool technology eventually giving way to more advanced traditions of core and flake tools.  

Truly, no artifact could be more important or impressive to collectors of European descent than one which had been fashioned and dates back to the VERY FIRST humans of Europe!  This magnificent pebble chopper tool was fashioned by Homo erectus in the Oldowan and Early Acheulian tradition over half a million years ago!  This tool was made from a quartzite river cobble and was found where a primitive settlement of these early humans once lived on the terraces of Haute-Garonne in Southwest France.  The site's age has been absolutely determined through extensive stratigraphic studies of these terraces that once were inhabited by the first humans to migrate into Europe from Africa.

This is a VERY rare example of a proto-hand axe.  It clearly shows more extensive flaking and working than most other specimens we have seen from this site.  It is bifacially worked and looks like a crude Acheulian hand axe in early developmental stages but it was finished and used in the manner that you see it is made.  Most impressive - this Oldowan chopper is an example of rare forward thinking of the primitive human (Homo heidelbergensis) who made this hand axe.  This is a proto-handaxe with features that would later be developed into the Acheulian Tradition.  The maker of this handaxe had incredible foresight to impart features that were technologically AHEAD OF THEIR TIME for this era!  

This pebble axe is an exceptionally rare and well-formed example.  Unlike typical Oldowan pebble choppers that have a crude transverse chopping edge, you can see this specimen comes to a blunt point.  Secondary baton-hammering is evident on both sides with one side still retaining a portion of the original smooth rounded cobblestone surface.  Almost resembling a bifacial Acheulian axe, this tool displays a dawning idea and a milestone development that was to come in the future.  This axe could be held in either hand based on its clever design.  Close-up image shows old mineral deposits on surface - a characteristic valued by authenticators.  Feel, form and function of this tool is superb.  NO MODERN DAMAGE, NO REPAIR and NO RESTORATION.  As found and with our highest recommendation. 

PERFECT TO DISPLAY BETWEEN CLASSIC OLDOWAN PEBBLE CHOPPERS AND LATER PERIOD ACHEULIAN HAND AXES AS THIS SPECIMEN SHOWS THE LINK!

WARNING:  Occasionally these "tools" can be found for sale on the internet and at shows.  The majority are nothing more than damaged ancient river cobbles caused by environmental action (glacial disturbance, frost damage, etc.) as well as plow damage since these are found in farm land.  Every broken cobblestone found on the Haute-Garonne terraces is NOT a human-created Paleolithic tool!  The determination of what is manmade and what is an ordinary broken river rock requires a very high level of understanding Paleolithic tool manufacture and technique as well as the experience to be able to differentiate the two and authenticate a genuine stone tool from this culture.  If in doubt, consult a scientific expert.  

The first hominids in Europe migrated north from Africa some time after 700,000 years ago.  Some sites in France, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia suggest that this might have occurred even earlier but evidence is not conclusive.  Evidence for existence after 700,000 years is definite with many sites being dated from 700,000 to 400,000 years ago.  These first humans were Homo erectus.

Most of these sites were located alongside rivers or lakes where stone tools are found alongside debris and bones of large mammals.  The tools of this time were very primitive having been fashioned by striking river cobbles to produce a crude chopping tool.  Sometimes, the flakes were used to make scrapers and points.  Human fossils and coprolites have also been discovered at sites in Southern France.  The coprolites were found to contain pollen which was used to further provide evidence of an exact date of the sites.  The primary source of food was the meat of big game hunted in the region. 

The early technology of pebble tools coexisted up to 400,000 years ago in Europe with biface axes of the Acheulian tradition.  The more advanced bifaces were flaked all over and created a much more portable and defined tool.  It is still not fully understood why such a primitive tool technology such as the Oldowan tradition was brought into Europe for the Acheulian bifacial tools proliferated Africa well before the migration of humans northward.  

No one can doubt the importance that pebble tools hold in the history of human development.  Their very emergence in Africa nearly two million years ago allowed the earliest humans to butcher animals for their meat - the needed nourishment that allowed humans to survive and flourish to one day populate and rule the earth.

RARE EUROPEAN OLDOWAN PROTO-HAND AXE SHOWS TRAITS OF A LATER PERIOD IN CONCEPT

EXTENSIVE FLAKING WORK SHOWS ITS MAKER WAS ALREADY AHEAD OF THEIR TIME!

3.75"  in length x 2.85" across

SOLD     PB015     Actual Item - One Only

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