The Earth has been warming and cooling for millions of year, LONG BEFORE the first humans were on the planet. One of the most dramatic examples of climatic change in the last 10,000 years is the desiccation of what is now the Sahara desert. Prior to as recent as 3000 B.C., the South Central Sahara region in Africa was a humid lake savanna. It was home to a thriving culture of ancient humans known as the Tenerians and before them, the Kiffians. The occupation of this area by these two peoples occurred continuously from around 7700 B.C. to the drying of the Sahara in 2500 B.C..
This EXCEEDINGLY RARE set is a complete original set grinding mill with its original associated rubbing stone, from the mysterious Neolithic people of the Tenerian Culture of the South Central Sahara Desert. Acquired from the original French collector who ran expeditions to the region in the 1960's and 70's, he confided this set was found together and the rubbing stone is the original stone to the small grinding basin. This is RARE as grinding mills and rubbing stones are usually found isolated separately with no association to their original counterpart. Another unusual feature is the stone from which it was made - FERRICRETE. Ferricrete is a mineral conglomerate consisting of surface sand and gravel cemented into a hard mass by iron oxide derived from the oxidation of percolating solutions of iron salts. The word is derived from the combination of ferruginous and concrete. Out of the many objects we have seen from this region and culture, this is the only time we have seen this type of stone so the fact that both the mill basin and rubbing stone are from the identical substance, supports this claim of them being an original set.
Because of its diminutive size compared to larger grain grinding mills used for food production, this mill set was probably used for making pigments for body art or rock art, or used to make medicinal substances. The rubbing stone has evidence of heavy use with a V-shaped grinding double side. The basin is slightly concave from use wear, as well. Both mill and rubbing stone are in perfect original condition. Original minerals and patina are still impacted in the microscopic crevices of the stone. Mere words cannot explain just how rare this object is.
These mills are an iconic invention of all early Neolithic humans first transitioning from hunter / gatherer to a sedentary society. This is an essential centerpiece of any collection of this Neolithic culture as this is what the Neolithic was all about - PREPARING food and other substances from cultivated / domesticated crops instead of relying on gathering naturally-occurring plants for food. It 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.
On a dinosaur fossil-hunting expedition in 2000 by a team of scientific explorers led by Paul Sereno, a paleodune and ancient lakebed site was discovered that yielded over 200 ancient burials of Kiffian and Tenerian people. The scientific findings showed that this region was once a humid lake region that was home to these hunter-fisher-gatherer people. The area became known as the "Green Sahara" for its once fertile and habitable landscape. Noted paleontologist, Dr. Paul Sereno, famous for other Saharan dinosaur discoveries, shot into the archaeological spotlight with his discovery of the ancient lakebed cemetery at Gobero in Niger in the year 2000. Interred in the many burials were numerous stone tools, ceramics, shells, beads and bone harpoons typical for the lifestyle of these ancient people of the Green Sahara.
In the final Pleistocene and early Holocene Periods around 10,000 years ago, the South Central Sahara Desert was once 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 diverse variety of both large and small fauna flourished there. 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 through time from the end of the Pleistocene towards the end of the Neolithic Period there, we see humans relying more on meat from raised animals as opposed to hunted animals that once roamed wild in the formerly Green Sahara.