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ACHEULEAN HANDAXE MADE BY HOMO ERECTUS (HOMO ERGASTER)

Exposed Saharan Site - North Africa

LOWER PALEOLITHIC PERIOD (ACHEULIAN):  1.2 million - 500,000 years ago

This Saharan Acheulean handaxe was made and used by Homo ergaster (African Homo erectus).  It was surface-collected from an exposed Acheulian site in the Northern Sahara Desert of North Africa.  This Lower Paleolithic tool represents the first intelligent design type known to science that was made by primitive humans.  Prior to these Saharan Acheulean tools, only crude pebble tools existed in the human fossil record.

This is complete, intact BIFACIAL handaxe made out of quartzite.  Obvious secondary flaking is present along with a well-designed hand grip for comfort.  Surface is patinated and worn from fascinating wind erosion caused by hundreds of thousands of years of exposure.  Fine patina overall.  In "as found" ORIGINAL condition with NO REPAIR AND NO RESTORATION.

In Africa, the Acheulian Tradition is well-defined and most diverse when compared to other regions where it eventually spread to.  HANDAXES are the most typical bifacial tool associated with this period.  Different from the bifacial tools from the earlier Oldowan Period, Acheulian tools are fashioned from large flakes as opposed to using a whole cobblestone as the core.  Along with handaxes, other bifacial tools that are Acheulian are CLEAVERS (large handaxes with a flat chopping edge) and PICKS (robust elongated, trihedral tools).  Other stone implements found at Acheulian sites are small tools like NOTCHES, SCRAPERS and SPHEROIDS (round flaked stone balls).  Most tools of this period were fashioned from basalt or quartzite.

The actual function of handaxes is debated.  Some suggest they were not used as a chopping tool but for butchering large game.  Scientists have shown that these tools exhibit wear common to butchery uses and these tools have been found in association with prehistoric elephant bones on intact "kill sites" of this period.  Other scientists have theorized they were thrown into a herd as a deadly spinning projectile.  Probably the most interesting theory and one that explains why many unworn and pristine condition tools have been found abandoned is that of the tool's use not as a tool at all but as an aid to sexual attraction.  Possibly, males used techniques of being able to fashion symmetrical stone axes to attract females and demonstrate they were the most capable individual for survival and support of a family.  If you were a primitive human able to make a large symmetrical handaxe, this would show you were genetically superior and an excellent candidate for mating.  There is much evidence that contradicts this theory but it sure is quite an interesting hypothesis.  Based on the varieties of utilitarian handaxe designs, and not only obvious wear from use but actual well-thought flaking designs to best fit ones hand, there's really little doubt that these stone tools were relied upon on a daily basis for primitive man's existence.

NICE COMPLETE EXAMPLE - THE CLASSIC TOOL AND INVENTION OF HOMO ERECTUS

5" in length

SOLD     ACH-085     Actual Item - One Only

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