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This VERY RARE Egyptian Predynastic flint bifacial war celt axe exhibits beautiful flaking and workmanship. A special feature of this axe is that it still retains original ancient red ochre that was ritually applied when the axe was in use. In ancient Egypt, red ochre was used in celebrations as a symbol of life and victory. Images of the edges above show remarkable opposing strikes to keep a thin straight edge down the length, leaving a zippered zig-zag appearance. It was masterfully fashioned by the earliest farming peoples of Egypt well over 5000 years ago, long before the first dynasties of Ancient Egypt were to be. An axe like this would have had the tapered end inserted into a wooden shaft handle and the axe further lashed and affixed to the shaft. The size and design rules it out as being used to fell trees or do any wood-working tasks. In addition to bows and arrows and stone mace heads, celt axes like this would have been a feared weapon when carried and wielded on a shaft handle.
Predynastic Egyptian flake tools come up for sale on rare occasions but major tools and weapons like this are extremely rare! Recent auctions have realized prices well into the 5-figures as these weapons were highly regarded as objects of prestige. The amazing workmanship seen on several specimens rivals any flaked tool or weapon of any other culture or time in history.
Predynastic Egyptian Neolithic tools are a must for any advanced, well-diversified private collection. With emphasis on the splendors of ancient Egypt, very little is ever seen or exhibited from prehistoric or Neolithic Egypt.
Scant archaeological evidence of Predynastic Egypt exists from 9000 BC to 6000 BC. At the end of the Pleistocene Period in the Nile Region, temperate conditions made for an ideal environment for the birth of a highly specialized Neolithic society between 7000 B.C. and 3200 B.C.. Continued expansion of the desert forced the early ancestors of the Egyptians to settle around the Nile more permanently, and adopt a more sedentary lifestyle during the Neolithic. Around 6000 BC, Neolithic settlements existed throughout Egypt. Studies have determined these settlements were founded by people from the Fertile Crescent in the Near East, moving to the area during the Egyptian and North African Neolithic and bringing farming to the region.
"Predynastic Egypt" is traditionally defined as the period from the final part of the Neolithic period beginning c. 6000 BC to the end of the Naqada III period c. 3000 BC. The dates of the Predynastic period were first defined before widespread archaeological excavation of Egypt took place, and recent finds indicating very gradual Predynastic development have led to controversy over when exactly the Predynastic period ended. Thus, various terms such as "Protodynastic period", "Zero Dynasty" or "Dynasty 0" are used to name the part of the period which might be characterized as Predynastic by some and Early Dynastic by others.
The Predynastic period is generally divided into cultural eras, each named after the place where a certain type of Egyptian settlement was first discovered. However, the same gradual development that characterizes the Protodynastic period is present throughout the entire Predynastic period, and individual "cultures" must not be interpreted as separate entities but as largely subjective divisions used to facilitate study of the entire period.
The vast majority of Predynastic archaeological finds have been in Upper Egypt, because the silt of the Nile River was more heavily deposited at the Delta region, completely burying most Delta sites long before modern times.