East Africa, Isimila Korongo, Tanzania, Acheulean period, ca. 700,000 to 300,000 years ago. A rare rhyolite hand axe made and used by early humans of the species Homo erectus (ergaster). Acheulean hand axes represent some of the earliest tools made by our ancestors. This example shows superb flaking and execution of this form. Tip and edges are intact and super sharp. Because of the greater difficulty in working the rhyolite volcanic stone from which it was made, axes from this region and material are cruder in appearance than their counterparts of the same period, found in North Africa and made of more common quartzite. Quartzite is easier to shape compared to rhyolite so less secondary blows and a more fundamental design is always found on these hand axes of East Africa. During the time of this axe, there were large elephant and hippopotamus species as well as giraffe species in Africa that primitive humans would have hunted. An axe like this was necessary to butcher such large kills. Size: 4" W x 8" H (10.2 cm x 20.3 cm)
Provenance: acquired in 2012 from a Belgian collection; originally surface collected from an exposed site
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