Type:  Shouldered Knife

Location: Fayum Oasis, Egypt



MoST ID: 1155

Pedestal Link: https://une.pedestal3d.com/r/DMOQSnwx16

Model Author:  Michael Curry

This small chert one-shouldered bifacial knife is from Egypt.  The artefact was recovered in the 1920s from an undated surface site on the Fayum Oasis, about 100 km southwest of Cairo.  It is broadly similar to one-shouldered bifaces recovered from the Predynastic (Badarian culture) settlement at Hemamieh, and may date to ca. 6000-6400 BP.  Bifacial knives emerge earlier in the Egyptian Western Desert (e.g., Farafra Oasis) and Fayum A period, by ca. 8000 BP, and this technological innovation likely diffused from there into the Nile Valley.

This bifacial knife has well-executed diagonal pressure flaking, with broad percussion-flaking scars also visible on one face.  The angle of the pressure flakes is from lower-left to upper-right, which is opposite to that often seen in diagonal pressure flaking elsewhere in the world.  It was likely resharpened many times before being lost or discarded.  Expert pressure flaking was seen on many tool types in Neolithic and Predynastic Egypt, and prestige knives from the Predynastic period show some of the highest levels of flintknapping skill ever achieved.

The artefact was part of the collections made by the famous archaeologist Gertrude Caton-Thompson from the Fayum Oasis from 1924-1928.  At the time, the artefacts were transported to the Antiquities Service in Cairo for official division.  From there, assemblages of stone tools were sent to organisations in the United Kingdom, and subdivided into smaller lots that were sent to subscribers around the world.  This is how archaeological finds in Egypt were redistributed to museums worldwide.  The Fayum stone tools were eventually distributed to 30 institutions in 8 countries, with most retained by the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London.  The tool in this model was deaccessioned from one of the collections sent to North America.