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AFRICAN NEOLITHIC SET OF TWO GROUND STONE AXES

Exposed Saharan Site - Algeria

NORTH AFRICAN NEOLITHIC PERIOD (CAPSIAN):  8,500 - 6,500 years ago

This CAPSIAN TRADITION ground and polished stone axe was found on an exposed African Neolithic site in the Sahara Desert in Northwest Africa.  It was masterfully fashioned by man (Homo sapiens sapiens) between 8,500 and 6,500 years ago.

This is a set of two ground stone axes from this period.  The axes are of different designs but the stone material used to make them is the same.  These were collected from the same site region.  Interesting use wear is evident on both.  The entire surface shows extensive pecking and grinding to form the axes.  Extreme patina and mineral deposits from the desert exposure are evidence of their extreme age.  There are a nicks to the chopping end which are ancient.  NO RESTORATION and NO REPAIR This type of axe is classic to the Neolithic Period all over the world in every culture.  Ground axes typify the "New Stone Age" (Neolithic) and their appearance ushered in this period and a change in axe design along with it.  These completely ground axes are also called 'celts'.  They are much more effective in chopping wood compared to flaked axes.  Celts were either hafted to a wooden handle or set into the handle, sometimes using an antler sheath as a shock absorber as have been found in European sites.  These axes were completely formed by rubbing a rough stone blank on gritty sandstone, using sand as an abrasive.  The cutting edge and surface was finished on finer grained stone for a smoother polish.  Similar to the European Neolithic ground and polished axes, the African Neolithic types were completely ground to form.  The cutting edge of the axes are also similar to their European counterparts in that they are ground to form a sturdy chopping edge and easily resharpened in the same manner.    

In the final Pleistocene and early Holocene Periods around 10,000 years ago, the Sahara was believed to be a highly favorable environment for hunters, gatherers and pastoralists.  Freshwater lakes existed between the dunes in what is now the Tenere region, Lake Chad was eight times its current size, the highlands supported Mediterranean forest trees, and a large fauna of animals flourished.  The slow drying out process of the Sahara, began 7,000 years ago and ended 4500 years ago resulting in the barren conditions that exist to this day.  As we progress from the time from the end of the Pleistocene to the end of the Paleolithic Period, we see man relying more on meat from raised animals as opposed to hunted animals.  

At the end of the Pleistocene Period in North Africa, a blade industry developed called the CAPSIAN TRADITION.  The Capsian industry runs simultaneously with the Oranian industry and began around 11,000 years ago (9,000 years ago in the Northwest region).  This later tradition is responsible for the influence of the Oranian industry and eventually succeeds it at the close of Paleolithic Period, ushering in the Neolithic Age of stone tool manufacture in this region of Africa.

Most notable during the era of the Capsian tradition is the proliferation of various blades and bladelets eventually leading to MICROLITHIC technology.  Microliths are tiny flake blade tools and segments of blades that are used as they are or set in composite tools of wood or bone for use as barbs or to make saws.  

The various tools of the CAPSIAN TRADITION represent some of the most delicately flaked and beautifully executed smaller stone tools of man.  By this time, the flaking methods utilize small punches for extreme control in the removal of material and shape of the blade being made.  Some points were so perfectly executed that they were not used at all but  served as items of prestige by their owner and are sometimes found in association with burials.  These finest points and blades from this period rival any stone implement ever made by primitive man and were sometimes manufactured out of the most stunning gem-grade material such as fine translucent chalcedony and agate as well as transparent crystalline quartz.  By this late age of lithic tool manufacture, stone implements have undergone man's development by both trial-and-error and cognitive thinking spanning an overall time exceeding one million years.

ATTRACTIVE SET OF TWO DIFFERENT DESIGN NEOLITHIC AXES OF SIMILAR STONE MATERIAL - INTERESTING USE  WEAR

Axes are 3.2" and 2.65" long

$165     CAP104     INCLUDES DISPLAY BOX     Actual Item - One Only

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