Type:  Acheulean Handaxe

Location: Morocco



MoST ID: 1141

Pedestal Link: https://archaeology.une.pedestal3d.com/r/ACDKilx358

Model Author:  Michael Curry

This quartzite Acheulean handaxe is from Morocco.  The Acheulean period dates to between ca. 170,000 BP to 1.7 million BP in the Sahara Desert region of North Africa.

This small triangular handaxe may have been reworked across the base.  The scars have a steeper orientation than the scars struck from the sides, which the basal scars appear to intrude into.  The flaking was likely done by hard-hammer percussion.

Handaxes are the earliest and longest-used ‘designed’ tool in human history, emerging in the archaeological record in Kenya (Kokiselei) and Ethiopia (Konso) ca. 1.75-1.8 million years ago.  In North Africa, handaxes have been dated at Oued Boucherit in Algeria to 1.7 million years ago, and 1.3 million years ago at the Thomas Quarry site on the outskirts of Casablanca, Morocco.  The earliest handaxes were likely made by Homo erectus, with the later handaxes in North Africa and Europe made by Homo heidelbergensis (also known as Homo rhodesiensis).  Homo heidelbergensis is thought by many palaeoanthropologists to be the most recent common ancestor between modern humans like us and the Neanderthals.  Fossils of Homo heidelbergensis have been found in the Sahara Desert region dating from ca. 600,000-700,000 BP, contemporary with North African Acheulean stone technology.  The Acheulean period is thought to have ended about 170,000 BP, replaced by prepared core technologies, although handaxe manufacture persisted for longer in some regions.