The Neolithic, or New Stone Age,
was a period in the development of human technology that is traditionally
the last part of the Stone Age. In the region of sub-Saharan Africa, the
Neolithic period began at 4,000 BC and ended roughly 1,000 BC which
dates all Neolithic stone artifacts from 3,000 to 6,000 years old.
Zanzibar carries a selection of
these Neolithic arrowheads, spear points, scrapers and other tools.
We acquire them from the nomadic Taureg people of western Africa -
historical camel herders who venture across the dry Sahara desert and
often come across these valuable pieces of history. Prices range
from $3.00 and up. Visit our gallery for the best selection.
Stone arrow heads from the
Sub-Sahara region of Africa were made in almost every imaginable shape.
The most impressive (artistic) examples are also the ones that required
the most skill to manufacture. It's doubtful that everyone making stone
arrow points during the Neolithic period would have had this skill level.
But a few craftsmen seem to have taken stone arrow point making to the
highest level in this region of Africa.
Ancient cultures always leave something behind for later people to ponder.
The Sub-Saharan stone artifacts exhibit the skill and pride of craftsmen
long gone. The stone survives to record their passing.
Stone tools are the oldest traces of human activity. The theories of the
origin of humans vary widely and have been at the center of heated debates
for hundreds of years. Despite our modern technology and advances in the
sciences, concrete evidence is still lacking to prove any of these
theories. Creationists believe that man was simply created in a modern
form and did not evolve from more primitive creatures. Those subscribing
to the belief in evolution believe that man's beginning is founded in
early mammalian evolution. Certain reptiles evolved into mammals, those
mammals gave rise to apes and monkeys and finally, man emerged from these
primates through a progression of species leading to modern man, Homo
sapiens. Finally, some subscribe to a hybrid theory as a combination of
these two - man was created as "man" and went through a series of
developmental changes. Theories aside, we all cannot argue the existence
of prehistoric humans as we DO have concrete evidence from the presence of
campsites, tools and artifacts that date back as far as over two million
years and have been found throughout the world.
One of the most important artifacts of primitive man is the existence of
stone tools. The PALEOLITHIC Period is defined as the time from the first
use of stone tools around two million years ago to the Pleistocene Period,
12,000 years ago. The Paleolithic Period is divided into three
categories, Lower, Middle and Upper Paleolithic Period. Four basic
traditions (and time periods) of their manufacture have been identified: OLDOWAN
/ DEVELOPED OLDOWAN (2 million to 1.5 million years ago); ACHEULIAN (1.5
million to 150,000 years ago); MOUSTERIAN or MIDDLE STONE AGE or MIDDLE
PALEOLITHIC (200,000 to 30,000 years ago) ; LATE STONE AGE or UPPER
PALEOLITHIC (30,000 to 10,000 years ago).
Scientific record and evidence places the beginning of the genus HOMO at
two million years ago with the emergence of Homo habilis from East and
Southern Africa. This species is the earliest known record of man that is
categorized in the same group as living humans. It was at this point in
time that stone tools first appeared and they are classified as the
OLDOWAN / DEVELOPED OLDOWAN Tradition. Homo habilis represents a
remarkable change in the comparison of other earlier species believed to
be more primitive forms of humans. Up to this point in time, Africa is
the only location in the world for human existence.
These arrowheads (for hunting small game, fish, reptiles and birds as well
as larger game), spear points, chipping, scraping and other tools are all
from the Neolithic, the “NEW STONE AGE”. They were lost or discarded by
our New Stone Age hunter gatherer ancestors 4,000 - 6,000 years ago in
what is today the Sahara desert of Africa.
Neolithic populations living around lakes in what is now the Sahara
desert; used these tools in the hunt for and processing of fish,
waterfowl, small and large game found along the shores of once abundant
Sahara lakes and rivers. The end of the Ice Age resulted in global
climate changes which dried the lakes and forced these Neolithic (New
Stone Age) peoples into new modes of existence, either agriculture which
was just beginning at the end of the Neolithic, or a nomadic animal
husbandry mode of existence. The New Stone Age was a very dynamic era
giving rise to agriculture, pottery, and permanent settlements, all of
which were milestones in humankinds march toward 'civilized' life. The
Sahara Neolithic lasted from 9,000 to 4,000 BP (years Before Present).
Zanzibar has a myriad variety of these tools, arrowheads and other items,
each of which can have specific names including several types of stemmed,
ovate, willow leaf, unifacial, lithics, several types of triangular points
(including Algerian found Eiffel Tower points),m ovates, and miscellaneous
Many of these are created using a steep parallel pressure flaking to
achieve their masterful serrated cutting edges.
It is likely that the presence of abundant small game and fish
necessitated the manufacture of these smaller projectile points at a time
when the Sahara was cooler and still teeming with life, thousands of years
ago. Each style of arrowhead was specialized to be used on a particular
type or size of prey: some are specifically for fish, crabs, lizards,
birds, small mammals and even larger mammals. Others are actual tools,
such as scraping tools (for cleaning and tanning of hides), flints for
starting fires, tattooing, as well as many other uses.
It is also highly likely that some of these artifacts served as weapons
against other humans. From a slightly earlier time period (ORANIAN
TRADITION) a late Pleistocene graveyard was discovered at Jebel Sahaba,
north of Wadi Halfa in Sudanese Nubia. These burials date from 14,000 to
12,000 years ago. Many people were buried there that had fallen victim to
violent deaths with the bodies having been killed by microlithic weapons
and small arrowhead projectiles. One man had 110 artifacts associated
with his skeleton which had entered his body as stone barbs and points of
projectiles. Two of the projectiles were still embedded in his skull.
In the final Pleistocene and early Holocene Periods around 10,000 years
ago, the Sahara was believed to be a highly favorable environment for
hunters, gatherers and pastoralists. Freshwater lakes existed between the
dunes in what is now the Tenere region, Lake Chad was eight times its
current size, the highlands supported Mediterranean forest trees, and a
large fauna of animals flourished. The slow drying out process of the
Sahara, began 7,000 years ago and ended 4500 years ago resulting in the
barren conditions that exist to this day. As we progress from the time
from the end of the Pleistocene to the end of the Paleolithic Period, we
see man relying more on meat from raised animals as opposed to hunted
The earliest blade industry in North Africa is classified as the ORANIAN
or also known as the IBERO-MAURUSIAN TRADITION. This tradition begins in
the region around 12,000 years ago and is eventually superceded by another
blade tradition called the CAPSIAN TRADITION. The Capsian industry runs
simultaneously with the Oranian beginning 11,000 years ago (9,000 years
ago in the Northwest region). This later tradition is responsible for the
influence of the Oranian industry and eventually succeeds it as we near
the end of the Paleolithic Period.
Most notable during the era of these two traditions is the proliferation
of various blades and bladelets ushering in MICROLITHIC technology.
Microliths are tiny flake blade tools and segments of blades that are used
as they are or set in composite tools of wood or bone for use as barbs or
to make saws.
The blades and projectile points we sell represent some of the most
delicately flaked and beautifully executed smaller stone tools of
primitive man. By this time, the flaking methods utilize small punches
for extreme control in the removal of material and shape of the blade
being made. Some points were so perfectly executed that they were not
used at all but served as items of prestige by their owner and are
sometimes found in association with burials. These finest points and
blades from this period rival any stone implement ever made by primitive
man and were sometimes manufactured out of the most stunning gem-grade
material such as fine translucent chalcedony and agate as well as
transparent crystalline quartz. By this late age of lithic tool
manufacture, stone implements have undergone man's development by both
trial-and-error and cognitive thinking spanning an overall time exceeding
one million years.