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Neolithic (New Stone Age) Arrowheads, Spear Heads & Tools

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 tools.
 
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 animals. 
 
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.

Zanzibar Tribal Art Gallery
1731 L Street
Sacramento, CA  95811
(916) 443-5601
www.zanzibar-trading.com
www.ZanzibarTribalArt.com