Type:  Winged and Stemmed Arrowhead

Location: Mauritania



MoST ID: 1949

Pedestal Link: https://une.pedestal3d.com/r/KMNUYelrv2

Model Author:  Michael Curry

This chert bifacial arrowhead is from the western Sahara Desert of North Africa.  The point is an example of a wide variety of bifacial arrowheads that proliferated in northern Mali and eastern Mauritania during the Sahara-Sudanese Neolithic period, ca. 4500-7500 BP.

Variants of bifacial arrowheads with wings and tangs are widespread across North Africa, Europe, and Western Asia during the Neolithic.  North African examples may be related to the Harpasa points in Western Asia.  This arrowhead is from the western Sahara/Sahel region, which saw a diversity of arrowhead styles—perhaps made by specialist flintknappers—after ca. 7500 BP.  This example is described as a Class A (winged and stemmed) arrowhead, Type 3 (straight edges and pointed wings).  It is unusual in having the serrations on the point margins repeated along the edges of the stem, an attribute normally only seen on contemporary (but technologically quite different) Tilemsi points.

The bow-and-arrow was an essential weapon for hunter-and-gatherer groups moving into the Sahara Desert to harvest animals attracted to the lakes and grasslands forming there in the African Humid Period, ca. 5000-14,500 BP.  Bifacial stemmed and hollow-based arrowheads appear to have been made alongside blade-based arrowheads in some areas.  Later Neolithic pastoral nomads favoured these bifacial pressure-flaked arrowheads and microlith arrowheads. The Sahara dried out and people dispersed to neighbouring regions from about 6000 BP.