Tools around 9,000 BC

The Globe




Southwest Asia

We earlier noted the desertion of most or all of the original Natufian settlements of Palestine in the first half of the ninth millennium and the subsequent appearance of tanged, notched, or tanged-and-notched arrowheads in the few remaining or reoccupied sites. In Syria the Natufian-related settlement at Abu Hureyra was also abandoned midway in the ninth millennium and a new site, soon to be stocked with several types of arrowhead, was established at Mureybet on the Syrian Euphrates. (Plato Prehistorian)

The presence of large, single-bladed sickles alongside the weapons at Mureybet III and contemporary Palestinian sites further recalls the use of a sickle in the Zeus-Typhon battle. Sickles with multiple microflints hafted in horn had been known to the Near East since Early Natufian times, but the new long blades would presumably have made better weapons, symbolic or real. In any case, it is the introduction of a new type of sickle, at a time that also saw the raising of defensive fortifications and a sudden profusion of arrowheads in the east Mediterranean Levant, that catches our attention. (Plato Prehistorian)


The tanged-and-notched points at Helwan in Lower Egypt have also been assigned to this period, and in the Negev desert this same mid-to-late ninth millennium epoch saw the introduction of Harifian points, arrowheads fashioned with either a pinched little tang or a triangular base. (Plato Prehistorian)

Indus Valley





First recognized at Le Mas d' Azil (a cave in Arige, France), the Azilian culture was a declining remnant of scattered Magdalenian communities. It lasted from 11,500 to 11,000 years ago. Centered in the Pyrenees region, it spread to Switzerland, Belgium, and Scotland, and was one of the earliest representatives of Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) culture in Europe. Bone and flint items were less refined, with a focus on small, geometric-shaped tools commonly used in composite tools called microliths. Bone work was limited to crude, flat, barbed points. Schematically painted pebbles have also been found at several Azilian sites. Some think these were the beginnings of a simple alphabet. (Before the Pharaohs)

…the Magdalenian domination of western Europe gave way first to the makers of curved-back points and then, in the ninth millennium, to the Tanged Point Technocomplex, whose main varieties of stemmed arrowheads are shown at left. Wolfgang Taute's thoroughgoing research counted some 372 tanged-point "find spots" in northern Europe alone; their clustering around the present-day coastline suggests the loss of a good many more to the postglacial. (Plato Prehistorian)

But if these several types of tanged points were indeed the weapons of war - and specifically the weapons of Plato's war, the concurrent appearance of arrowheads in the Near East further suggests - the question of who made them is still a puzzle. (Plato Prehistorian)

In Western Europe...the Aurignacian tradition consisted of a specific set of tools that included retouched blades, engraving tools called burins, and stone scrapers, and it is dated to between 34,000 BP and 27,000 BP. From 27,000 BP to 21,000 BP the Gravettian tradition delveloped, with its emphasis on smaller blades and denticulate knifes. The Solutrean tradtition, dated from 21,000 BP to 16,000BP, is the most striking of all, characterized by finely made, bifacially flaked, symmetrical, leaf-shaped projectile points. Solutrean points are amoung the most finely made stone tools ever found. The Solutrean was followed by the Magdelanian, from 16,000 BP to 11,000 BP, when the emphasis was not on stone tools at all but rather on bone and antler, with the attendant production of microblades. (The Past in Perspective)

South America




North America

Around 11,000 years ago Clovis points are abruptly replaced by a smaller, more finely made model now known as Folsom points (after a site near Folsom, New Mexico, where they were first identified). The Folsom points are often found associated with bones of an extinct wide-horned bison, never with the mammoths preferred by Clovis hunters. (The Third Chimpanzee)