It's been quite some time since we offered an African Acheulian hand axe of this magnitude and caliber. It is one of the most impressive specimens we have offered since we first went online in the year 2000. Not only is this monster hand axe in supreme original condition, it shows incredible flaking and form with a CLASSIC angled flat proximal end to fit the hand comfortably. Hand axes HALF this size have sold in auctions for MUCH MORE than the price we are offering this remarkable specimen. It is as rare as they get and seldom will you find examples of this size, condition and form, ever available for sale. It is of an unusually large size and most definitely was intended to butcher the large game that lived in the region during the Lower Paleolithic (Pleistocene Period).
Made and used by Homo ergaster (African Homo erectus), it was surface-collected from an exposed Acheulian site in the Northern Sahara Desert of North Africa and acquired from an old private French collection. This Lower Paleolithic artifact represents the first intelligent design type known to science that was made by primitive humans. Prior to these Saharan Acheulian tools, only crude pebble tools existed in the human fossil record.
This massive example was ideally suited for smashing and piercing the major limb bones of large hunted prey in prehistory. Its extreme weight and narrow, blunt- pointed tip made such a task possible. During the time of this axe, there were large elephant and hippopotamus species as well as giraffe species in Africa that primitive humans would have hunted. An axe like this was necessary to butcher such large kills.
As one of the most beautiful and finest made Lower Paleolithic African handaxes we have ever sold, this remarkably aesthetic Acheulian bifacial hand axe demonstrates the skill and ability of Early Man to the highest order. Hand axes of this magnitude are theorized to be PRESTIGE PIECES. It certainly warrants being labeled "museum grade". It features every possible aspect of a prize specimen. The prehistoric artisan that made this piece oriented aesthetic banding in the stone such that the grip included much of the impressive banded line patterns as they ran down the side from the proximal end. The flaking is superb and shows masterful craftsmanship from its primitive human maker. Wind-worn "desert varnish" erosion adds an immense aesthetic feature, as well as a testament to age.
This is an investment-grade Paleolithic artifact. Specimens like this are one in many, many thousands and are exceptionally rare. Collectors consider prized features to include either size, workmanship or color but when ALL exist, then it is truly an important piece to include in a collection as this one is. The vast majority of quartzite tools from this culture and geographical region are made of a homogeneous color quartzite.
In "as found" ORIGINAL condition. NO REPAIR and NO RESTORATION. GENUINE Acheulian hand axes of this quality are rare and recent realized prices at major auction houses are proving what we have been saying for years that authentic high grade tools of primitive man remain one of the most promising investments.
Surface areas of the tool display a "desert varnish" - a natural glossy surface where the artifact lay undisturbed and exposed to blowing sands, for millennia. The wind-driven sand polished and deposited microscopic layers of silica on the surfaces of the artifact, giving it a sheen. In many cases, a bi-colored patina on either side, also developed, as the exposed side patinated differently than the unexposed side. Original sediment and mineral encrustations are still present in microscopic crevices and cracks - a trait ONLY found in authentic Paleolithic artifacts like these. These features are a testament to the age and authenticity of ALL Saharan Paleolithic artifacts.
During this time in prehistory when this Lower Paleolithic tool was made, the Sahara Desert (where this stone tool was found) was a savanna rich in wildlife. Prior to the prehistoric global warming that turned the vast region to desert, early humans lived alongside prehistoric giraffe, bison and elephant, which were vital to their survival. Hunting and butchering these animals would have required specialized tools such as those found in the Acheulian Period.