This small chert blade core is from the Upper Capsian period, Algeria, ca. 6000-8000 BP. Bladelets were removed from the core using a pressure technique, which was the dominant method to produce blanks for backed microliths and other tools during the Upper Capsian.
This core is bidirectional, with bladelets removed from opposite directions from platforms at both ends of the core face. The core is heavily reduced, and the last removal attempts ended in step terminations. One ‘crest’ is present on the reverse side of the core, made by mostly unifacial percussion flaking. Crests were created during the initial core flaking process, and Upper Capsian pressure blade cores were made with two or three crests (‘mitred’ cores). Crests were made to guide the initial blade removals in setting up the core faces, and it is unclear why a crest on this core was not used for this. During the Upper Capsian, blades were also made by direct hard-hammer or soft-hammer percussion. The percussion blades and pressure bladelets were used as blanks to make different sorts of tools.
Bow-and-arrow technology dates to at least 22,000 BP in North Africa, and the earliest arrowheads were backed microliths. Triangular points-on-blades—with variants known as Ounan or Harif points—were made alongside the more common backed microliths by at least 11,500 BP, and through most of the Capsian phase. 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.