A fantastic Acheulian stone hand axe, Sahara Desert, c. 1.2 million to 500,000 years ago. Axes such as this were made and used by Homo ergaster (African Homo erectus). This example was surface-collected from an exposed Acheulian site in the Northwestern Sahara Desert of North Africa. This Lower Paleolithic tool represents the first intelligent design type known to science that was made by primitive humans. Prior to these Saharan Acheulian tools, only crude pebble tools existed in the human fossil record. With evidence of prehistoric use by the flat, worn tip, this is a fine example of a trihedral pick. The trihedral pick is characterized by its long, narrow pointed shape of three faces leading to a sharp tip. Hand axes of this type were designed to puncture large bones to access the highly-prized marrow inside, the most nourishing protein source of the period. The flaking is superb and shows masterful craftsmanship in a well-made round grip end, from its primitive human creator. The naturally glossy surface is called 'Desert Varnish', a patina caused by extreme long-term exposure to the blowing desert sands. Dimensions: 4 1/2 in x 2 2/3 in. Ex French private collection acquired in 2005.
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