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2019-10-24 08:20:20   •   ID: 2129

Rare late ESA Biface from Issaouane / Algeria

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Figure 1-3: This is a bi-convex 11 cm long ESA Biface from the Erg Issaouane / Algeria, a region already introduced in the Blog see here 2048 .

It does not resemble Aterian Foliates nor can it assigned to the local Neolithic. It can clearly characterised as a late Acheulian artifact. Note that it has been made by a sophisticated soft hammer-technique.

In Algeria, such superb examples also were found in situ in the Wadi Saoura during the 1960ies in the the End-Ougartien Geological Formation by J. Chavaillon und H. Alimen, especially at Zaouïa-el- Kebira.

On Geological grounds such items date to the late Middle Pleistocene.

It is suggested that such Handaxes are later than the Material from the famous Tihodaine (Tassili n'Ajjer) site, already introduced in the Blog, see here 1447 ,

South of Tebessa, the prominent site of El Ma el Abiod was reported in 1909 by A. Debruge. Unlike most other Acheulian scatters with only a small number of artifacts, it is, with more than a thousand pieces, particularly rich.

The Handaxes of El Ma el Abiod are beautiful, at least for our „ modern“ perception, and very similar to the pointed example shown here, most of elongated cordiform character with regularized edges, made by soft hammer technique.

The stratigraphic position of the deposit remains imprecise, although it seems to belong to a stratified gravel encountered at 8 m depth by geological drilling from which two elephant molars of the Loxodonta atlantica originate.

The prehistoric lithic archeological record from Erg Issouane is remarkable sparse. Beyond isolated Handaxes, like the one shown in this post, early researchers described Lower Paleolithic tools, of "Clactonian" technique, for the most part located at the top of the gorges and cliffs.

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Figure 4 (courteously by W. Hernus) shows a non-Levallois, non-Tanged MSA-Point from Erg

At Issaouane MSA tools (with and without tangs) are notoreous rare, compared to other Algerian sites and surface scatters.

Surface findings of Neolithic arrowheads were detected together with decorated ostrich eggs, most of the collections are today deposited in the Museum of Bardo in Algiers.

Asymmetric flat flint Neolithic artifacts (maybe sickles) have already described here 2048 . Single large Neolithic Foliates up to 30 cm long, similar to the Neolithic pieces from Fort Flaters and from the Fort-Thiriet region have been described and may point to a non utilitarian use.

Suggested Reading:

A really beautiful Publication, highly estetic and still relatively cheap on the Market:

BOUYSSONIE J., Abbé BREUIL H.: COLLECTIONS PREHISTORIQUES - PLANCHES Album n° 1. MUSEE D'ETHNOGRAPHIE ET DE PREHISTOIRE DU BARDO, BOUYSSONIE J., Abbé BREUIL H. Edité par Arts et Métiers Graphiques, Alger, 1956.

ALIMEN M.H., ZUATE Y. ZUBER J., 1978 – L’évolution de l’Acheuléen au Sahara nord-occidental. Meudon, CNRS.