This GENUINE bifacial quartzite hand axe was made and used by early humans of the primitive species Homo erectus (ergaster). It was surface-collected from an exposed Lower Paleolithic Acheulian site in the Sahara Desert of North Africa. This Lower Paleolithic tool represents the first scientifically documented intelligent design made by primitive humans. Prior to these Saharan Acheulian handaxes, only crude pebble and flake tools existed in the human fossil record.
This is an excellent example of an Acheulian hand axe form known as an ELONGATE BIFACIAL hand axe. It has an interesting artistic feature that was PURPOSELY made into the design - a black natural line in the stone running lengthwise, exactly through the middle. The prehistoric human that made this axe would have had to orient the original rock so that the finished hand axe would have this feature in the correct position. No doubt, this gem of prehistoric artistic expression was a prestige object! The masterful flaking features a proximal end that has a beveled area for the palm, and recessed areas on the sides for the fingers. The tip would have been ideal to smash open bones to access the prized marrow, rich in nutrients! The chopping tip and edges are intact and well-made with evidence of original prehistoric primary and secondary flaking. This hand axe is complete and in "as found" ORIGINAL condition with NO REPAIR AND NO RESTORATION.
Surface areas of the tool display a "desert varnish" - a natural glossy surface where the artifact lay undisturbed and exposed to blowing sands, for millennia. The wind-driven sand polished and deposited microscopic layers of silica on the surfaces of the artifact, giving it a sheen. In many cases, a bi-colored patina on either side, also developed, as the exposed side patinated differently than the unexposed side. Original sediment and mineral encrustations are still present in microscopic crevices and cracks - a trait ONLY found in authentic Paleolithic artifacts like these. These features are a testament to the age and authenticity of ALL Saharan Paleolithic artifacts.
During this time in prehistory when this Lower Paleolithic tool was made, the Sahara Desert (where this stone tool was found) was a savanna rich in wildlife. Prior to the prehistoric global warming that turned the vast region to desert, early humans lived alongside prehistoric giraffe, bison and elephant, which were vital to their survival. Hunting and butchering these animals would have required specialized tools such as those found in the Acheulian Period.