Stone Age Tool


This ancient Stone Age handaxe is still sharp enough to cut paper. It is dated by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan to be from the period 80,000 to 50,000 years before the present.

The stone is chert (flint) but naturally dyed black from the minerals in the well at Ain-al-Assad (the Lion's Spring) in Azraq, Jordan, near the Iraqi border. The tool fits my hand very well. My husband and I collected this artifact while on an amateur archeological survey of the area. We read of a desert oasis called Ain-al-Assad (the Lion's Spring or Well) and wondered if we would see any ancient remains there. Nothing was very evident, but the well (spring) had been recently dug out to hold more water near the surface. My husband idly picked up a clod of mud from the digging and saw a piece of black stone stuck in it. When he cleared away the mud, we saw there were many tools stuck in the mud from the spring. This tool was among those we collected that day. Its sharp edge was protected through all those aeons by the mud that had caked around it.

We researched the find at the American Center for Oriental Research in Amman and were instructed that it was a known Middle Stone Age site and contained ancient chert (flint) implements that had been dyed black by the minerals in the spring water and mud. The white areas are the old matrix that was not chipped away when the tool was made; therefore that part did not react with the minerals in the same way.

We collected a few samples and among them was this stone axe or multi-purpose tool, not quite finished with the usual retouch around some of the edges.

4 in long x 3 in wide x 2.5 in thick (10 cm x 7.5 cm x 6.5 cm)

More information at my Artfire website.