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United States
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Stone Age Oval Biface Hand Axe at Ain al Assad in Jordanian Desert

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I found this important historic and beautifully worked hand axe in the soil lifted up from the excavation that cleaned out and deepened the spring that is known as Eye of the Lion or Ain al Assad, which is located just southwest of the Iraq Jordan border.

It is a serene place where I suppose large desert cats watered once upon a time. The knapping or chipping is exquisite and the edge is still sharp enough to cut printer paper. This is a result of the fact that the piece was buried deep in the spring's sediment layers for thousands of years. It is dated by the Jordanian antiquities scholars to a period that lasted from about eighty thousand years ago to about fifty thousand years ago.

There is a special characteristic in the stone material left at this spring. We found at least three stone age hand tools that had the same characteristics, even though they were in different forms: one was a round biface, another a pointed pick like instrument and this one an oval hand axe. But all three showed this white deposit on parts of the tool that had already been knapped but not on the rest of the worked tool.

Sometimes this characteristic means that the tool had been first worked in a more distant time, then the white material had been deposited over all or most of the worked tool. At some later time, the person who worked this particular biface picked up the stone tool with the deposit on it and re-knapped it to put new faces and new edges on it. After all, the major work had already been done. This is recognized as a common practice in popular oases where wandering human tribes would find abandoned stone tools from thousands of years before their time. It is called retouching the tool.

This is a beautiful and instructive tool and is worth adding to your collection. It also makes a wonderful gift to that geologist or archeologist in your family or circle of friends.

70 mm w. x 101 mm h. x 27.5 mm deep (4 in x 2.75 in x 1 in)

Inspiration/Story Behind This Product

The wide open spaces, the hospitality of the Jordan Department of Antiquities and the ancient cultural roots of this country is a great inspiration to study its cultural remnants no matter the age.

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Product Attributes

Color: Grey