This NEOLITHIC OF CAPSIAN TRADITION artifact was found on an exposed African Neolithic site in the Sahara Desert in Northwest Africa. It was made and used by African Neolithic humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) between 10,500 and 6,500 years ago.
This is a VERY RARE COMPLETE stone grinding mill basin and rubbing stone used by Neolithic people from this period to grind substances such as grain for food, roots or herbs for medicinal uses, or pigments for body paint or rock art drawing. Rarely available on the market, this is an essential centerpiece of any collection of this Neolithic culture as this is what the Neolithic was all about - PREPARING food from cultivated / domesticated crops instead of relying on gathering naturally-occurring plants for food. It also is an iconic object from Neolithic societies as this was the first time in human history when people no longer needed to move with their resource, instead staying in one area and building a community. Objects like these indicate a sedentary life since their transportation would have not been practical.
While most grain grinding mills are larger than this example, it is intriguing to think this was probably not used for food production. It was most likely used for medicinal substances or for creating art pigments. The stone basin was fashioned out of sedimentary sandstone and shows desert exposure wear and patina as well as mineralized sediments still attached. The grinding side is slightly concave from use and shows stone pecking to have formed it, across the entire surface. The underside was left raw with natural outer stone layers still intact. The circumference was also shaped by stone pecking as seen by the pocked marks on the entire edge. The rubbing stone was made from quartzite and is pill-shaped with the underside worn flat from prehistoric use. Both, the grinding basin and rubbing stone are INTACT.
SPECIAL NOTE: These Neolithic mills were always fairly scarce but have become much more so today. The main reason is because their size and shape make them easy to spot. Today, much of the Northern Sahara has been picked clean of these mills. In a time period over the last 15 years, COMPLETE and AUTHENTIC specimens like this have become EXTREMELY scarce. In auctions, online sellers, shows and Ebay, we see nothing but fakes being sold. Week after week for years!, Ebay has some sellers that routinely sell outright fake African Neolithic grinding mills. These sellers have thousands of feedbacks and yet, with years of selling obvious fakes, NOT A SINGLE FEEDBACK IS NEGATIVE!!!!!!!
One way to tell if a mill is fake is to wash it off with soap, warm water and a scrub brush. True mills with thousands of years of impacted sediment, wind erosion and mineral encrustations, will be impossible to scrub clean. Fakes will come clean and have no variation in color or surface texture like an authentic specimen. Under magnification, authentic stone Neolithic artifacts will have deep MICROSCOPIC crevices stained and impacted with minerals. Fakes will not have this. The sheer number of fake stone tools being produced in Morocco, Mali, Mauritania and Algeria, for example, is staggering. And this junk routinely makes its way to the market every year.