Type:  Timor Tanged Point

Location: Ata Gua Luli, Timor Leste



MoST ID: 5737

Pedestal Link: https://une.pedestal3d.com/r/MW6rIJgfSc

Model Author:  Emma Watt

This chert Timor Tanged Point is from the cave site of Ata Gua Luli, Timor Leste.  Timor Tanged Points were added to the toolkit about 5000 BP and disappeared by about 2000 BP.

The point in this model is Glover’s Subtype 1.  The point’s stem, or ‘tang’, was made by steep unifacial retouch to alternate faces: one edge was retouched by striking the ventral surface of the flake, and the opposite edge was retouched by striking the dorsal edge of the flake.  The point was made on a blade-like flake with converging dorsal arrises.  The artefact was exposed to fire within the cave, probably from being scuffed into a hearth.  The surfaces are marked by incipient potlids, and damage to the edges shows that the internal structure has been severely crenated by heat.

See the annotations for technological details about this stone tool.

Stone points were first recognised on the island of Timor by Alfred Bühler and the Swiss naturalist Fritz Sarasin in 1934, at the cave site of Niki-Niki in what is now Indonesian West Timor (Timor Barat).  The tools were made on a flake with a stem or ‘tang’ retouched onto the proximal end.  The edges were unmodified and the flakes were usually struck in such a way that the margins converged to form the point, although some were not pointed. In 1954 the Dutch Catholic priest and amateur archaeologist, Theodorus Verhoeven, was part of an expedition that recovered tanged points from the cave site of Liang Leluat II on the Maubesi River.  They excavated 20 square metres of the cave up to 60 cm deep, and recovered 10 tanged points from the upper 30 cm of deposit and on the slope in front of the cave.  Verhoeven called them Maubesi Points.  In 1963 and 1965 the English archaeologist Ian Glover conducted excavations at several cave sites in Timor Leste (East Timor) as part of his PhD research.  He identified 10 tanged points at the cave site of Uai Bobo 1, located near the Uai Cana hot springs, and called them Timor Tanged Points.  Glover classified them into three subtypes based on the shape of the blade, and characterised them as ‘the most distinctive stone artefacts so far found on the island’.  They appear to be limited geographically to central and south-central Timor.  Glover believed that they were spear tips that were sometimes used as knives, with the point’s tip as the main working edge.  They are usually recovered along with pottery and Glover thought they were a local technological innovation rather than introduced through outside contacts.

Timor Tanged Points from Liang Leluat II (Verhoeven 1959).