This African Capsian Neolithic ground celt axe was found on an exposed African Neolithic site in the Sahara Desert in Northwest Africa. It was made over 5000 years ago by grinding and polishing a prepared stone to form its refined shape and chopping edge on the proximal end. The tapered end would have been inserted in a wooden shaft handle which the axe head would have been hafted to.
Out of all ancient and prehistoric types of material we have worked with over the past 22+ years, one of the most experienced we have been with is the Capsian African Neolithic. Out of numerous trips to the Sahara and handling thousands of pieces of this culture, we have never seen a ground celt axe with incised decorations as this. Furthermore, the Saharan artifact book put out by Klenkler which are considered the pictorial Bibles of rare Saharan Neolithic and Prehistoric items fails to show a single one! What is quite unusual is this axe first started out as naturally long, torpedo-shaped stone as evidenced by the rough natural form of a good portion of its lower body. It seems minimal shaping was to a majority of its profile with the exception of shaping the flared chopping end, knife-edge cutting edge and of course, the three incised lines running across the body where it had been ground smooth. The stone used is some type of very dense and heavy hardstone that has been HEAVILY patinated by the wind and ground minerals of the desert. The stone is polished and darkened with a heavy natural gloss from silica deposition due to exposure to desert sands for millennia. This effect is called "Desert Varnish" but it is the heaviest we have ever seen in a Capsian Neolithic artifact! The main rarity of this specimen is the three grooved lines which exhibit an identical patina in their crevices - a sign they are original and were made in the axe the same time the axe was made. This has been confirmed by microscopic analysis.
This type axe would have been inserted into a wooden handle and further lashed in place to secure it to the shaft. This Neolithic axe was masterfully fashioned by Neolithic humans between 10,000 and 4,700 years ago. It could have served in both a utilitarian role but was most likely a deadly weapon of warfare. By this period in time, the northern Sahara was nearly devoid of trees as the African Humid Period was ending and the phase of desiccation was underway. The use of axes to cut wood became less common compared to the increase in warfare due to a reduction of resources, so the main purpose left for axes of this nature was as a weapon.
Intact original mineral deposits and patina deep within the flake scars and micro-crevices of the flaking are signs of authenticity and age not found in modern forgeries often seen on the market.