October 18, 2021

What Are the “Aterian” Stone Age Tools of North Africa?

The “Aterian” stone software fashion or industry from North Africa is named for the initially or “form” internet site wherever these exclusive looking weapons and food items processing applications were being explained: Bir el-Atir in Algeria.

The “Aterian” stone tool know-how and cultural team was at first considered to date to the time period from 40,000 to 20,000 a long time prior to the current. On the other hand, a lot more latest scientific technologies have been made use of to re-examine the stone applications and have pushed back the time horizon for this technological know-how of stone software making to a considerably more mature array: from 85,000 to 40,000 a long time of age.

The production approach for these tools is derived from the previously “Mousterian” strategies for doing the job stone, making use of ready and shaped cores from which had been struck off large flakes which ended up then typically unifacially trimmed into the wanted tool shapes.

This older stone functioning method was lengthy employed by archaic sorts of humans, this sort of as Neanderthals and Heidelbergensis. Nonetheless, all of the human remains linked with “Aterian” tools and web-sites have been “early contemporary” human beings.

They continued with the exact primary stone performing processes, but with a key conceptual distinction. The “Aterian” model tools are the 1st to have evidently been built and manufactured to be mounted on handles, with the projectile points and the scrapers owning distinctive ready “tangs” at the base of the resource or projectile position.

A “tang” serves as a protruding framework which enables a resource or blade to be inserted into a split cope with or shaft substance, like wooden or bone, and then sure in placement with wire of some kind, or with a binding agent like a glue which will harden to variety a lasting bond. Another expression for tang is “haft”.

The “Aterian” culture ranged all throughout North Africa, from Morocco in the west and as far east as the Kharga Oasis in Egypt. The Kharga Oasis is found in the desert lands a fantastic length west of the Nile River Valley.

Below is a description of the dimensions and attributes of a few normal “Aterian” implements from North Africa. Between these three parts is an “Aterian” unifacial projectile level, from the Center Paleolithic (Middle Sone Age), which actions 1-5/8″ prolonged by 1-1/8″ extensive. The knapping function was carried out on 1 face of the stone, with the underside effectively untouched. This is why it is termed unifacial. The projectile stage is approximately triangular in condition, with the tang for mounting to a shaft protruding from the foundation of the triangle.

The two unifacial, tanged scraping and processing equipment attribute rounded operating edges, at the end reverse the tang used for mounting the applications to handles. These are about 2-1/2″ lengthy and 2″ throughout the rounded functioning edge of the software. The form of these two is extra of an oval, with the tang protruding from one particular of the extended sides of the oval. This tang would be hooked up to a wooden or bone take care of to offer increased power and command at the processing edge of the scraper or processing software.

These implements day from a time 85,000 to 40,000 years right before current, when the Sahara Desert area was wealthy in grasslands, teeming with wild herds, and populated by a prevalent early contemporary hunter-gatherer inhabitants.

Even though they have been early modern-day human beings, the “Aterians” have been even now applying instrument manufacturing procedures which ended up long utilized by archaic human populations these kinds of as the Neanderthal society in North Africa and Europe. These have been the earliest tanged resources and weapons, produced specifically to be connected to handles and shafts.

Copyright 2009, all rights reserved. F. Scott Crawford, Carrollton, Texas, United states of america.