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2021-06-05 12:23:50   •   ID: 2252

Double Pointed Pick from Erg Rebiana, Libya

Figure 1
Lithic Picks from the old world were present from 1,7 Ma until the Neolithic.

An early Palaeolithic Pick from East Africa was already introduced here: 2070 and a Neolithic example can be seen here: 1738

This is a Double Pointed ESA or early MSA tool from Erg Rebiana, Libya. The region was already introduced during an earlier post-see: 2010

The Rabyanah Sand Sea is a sand desert region in the southeastern sector of Libya with a surface of approximately 65,000 km².

It is named after the oasis town of Rabyanah located towards its eastern end. Together with the Calanshio Sand Sea and the Great Sand Sea, the Rabyanah Sand Sea is part of the greater Libyan Desert.

During the Pleistocene a dense network of rivers in the Rebiana area existed and connected the area with sites further North and East (see Figure 1 in Scerri and Spinapolice 2019). Even today vast water supplies lie beneath the Rebiana Oasis.

Unfortunately, data about the Paleolithic in N-Africa, especially concerning the MSA are mostly limited to coastal and hinterland regions including some prominent oases.

Figure 2
Further problems arise by political instability, the frequent lack of stratified finds in the central Sahara and nomenclatural inconsistencies that make comparisons of Stone Age inventories over wide distances of this huge Continent difficult.

The tool shown here would probably called "Bifacial Scraper" in Central Europe, "Atypical Biface" in France and " Double Pointed Pick" by Africanists.

Considering the original localisation of the stone tool and its geomorphological relationship to East Africa, the last designation may be the most reliable.

Early Paleolithic Picks in Africa and Asia (including the Levantine corridor) refer to a subgroup of Large Cutting Tools (LCTs).

A simple pick is defined as an elongated bifacial core-like tool with a thick distal tip, often with a triangular or rectangular cross section at the conjunction of two lateral edges.

The distal ends of Paleolithic picks have been retouched on two, three or even four sides. Double-pointed picks have two such points at opposite ends of the same tool (Definition modified after Shea 2013).

Pick aren't only a hallmark of the early Acheulian in the Levant: Ubeidiya in Israel at c 1.4 million years. Joub Jannine II and Latamne in Syria at c 500-700 k.a. but they were also found in different contexts over Eastern and South Africa.

Figure 3
One example of an early pick from my own collection comes from Sterkfontein in the Gauteng Province - see also 2227 and is about 1,7–1,4 Ma old.

Picks persist in the Archaeological record until the MSA- maybe even until the early Holocene in Central Africa in remote areas.

Picks are common during the post-Acheulian, the early MSA Sangoan which has its center in Central Africa. The Sangoan is a an industry dominated by minimally reduced, thick, and heavy core tools including core axes, picks, choppers, and core-scrapers (Leakey and Owen 1945).

The Sangoan industry was first discovered in 1920 at Sango Bay, Uganda, and is also found in Angola, Congo (Kinshasa) and Kenya. Variant forms of Sangoan occur in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Other important Sangoan sites have been detected in the Middle Nile Valley sites such as Khor Abu Anga (Arkell 1949), Sai 8-B-11 (Van Peer et al. 2003), and Arkin 8 (Chmielewski 1968), and further to the south at Abu Hagar.

The common question of convergence versus the spread of this very characteristic ESA/MSA artifact through migratory movements and / or diffusion of certain ideas, can of course not be answered in this modest post of an interested collector.

Suggested Reading:

Sacha C. Jones, Brian A. Stewart (Ed.): Africa from MIS 6-2: Population Dynamics and Paleoenvironments (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology).

AJ Arkell: The Old Stone Age in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan / by A.J. Arkell. (Sudan Antiquities Service occasional papers ; no. 1)