A variety of different methods is existent to determine the age of ceramic objects. Due to the large dissemination of ceramic shards they are often used to determine the age of Neolithic stations.
Ceramic containers originate mainly from the heyday of the Sahara Neolithic period.
The question in which extent prehistoric inhabitants have used ceramic vessels and if they can be considered as an indication of stationary lifestyle is still unclear; however it is most likely that wooden vessels have been used as well.
The fields of application of booth, wooden and ceramic vessels, overlap only partially. Apart from that wooden vessels cannot be heated over a fire; they also swell quickly on contact with wet or moist content. Furthermore water loses his taste if stored in a wooden vessel over a longer time. In contrast ceramic vessels don’t have these disadvantages and, due to their porous surface, they even cool the water through evaporation effects.
Findings proof, that these vessels were not only used for storing water and preparing meals, but also for storing seasonal vegetable aliments.
That human being had settled in the most barren areas of the Sahara is proven by the countless findings of artefacts and tools which they have left behind. But the stone mills are one of the most important elements in the revolution which came up in the Neolithic period 10,000 years ago.
Mankind learned to use nature’s products like grain, corn and wheat and to create products out of these resources. Collecting grain and milling flour was an essential step towards farming and cultivation of plants. In some regions at the edge of the southern Sahara one can still find people using authentic prehistoric tools to process their food.
One of the widely known testimonies of the Neolithic period; are the arrow heads made of stone. They exist in numerous variations for different types of prey. All in all there are three main variants: triangular, stalked and arrow heads with a traversal edge; whereby the last type can be considered as the prototype of the medieval bolt.
Although some of the arrow heads could be used for fishing, it is certain that most of them are used for hunting animals or in disputes with rivals.
Through experience the user has learned that the stone arrow head has to be in balanced with the arrow shaft. This is the reason why there exists such a huge amount of different forms; which however can be easily assorted to their type and family.
Jewellery is one of the characteristics of the Neolithic period in the Sahara. Usually the oldest industries where laid out to the production of commodities only.
Beside lip plugs of different size and forms, there exist small stone balls which might be used as slingshot projectiles. Beads made out of quartz, amazonite and malachite as well as stone bracelets are also part of the Neolithic jewellery. Most of these objects can be found in the southern parts of the Sahara; in Mail and Mauritania.
An astonishing variety of amulets complete the magnificent ensemble; which is showing a high scene for arts.
The people of the new stone age also where the creators of small sculptures (often called “Rones bosses” in the literature) which represent animals or even have anthropomorphic layouts. In general these sculptures can be found in the region of “Erg d’Admer”.
Today Africa is often named as the cradle of mankind, and actually nowhere else can be found such number of testimonies of the prehistoric culture. The earliest findings come from Africa.
In the Sahara stone tools can be found which are comparable with founds in east Africa and have an age of about two million years.
From this point until the beginning of the Holocene the Palaeolithic cultures evolved.
|10 000||Upper Pleistocene||Aterien
|50 000||Middle Pleistocene||Acheuleen
|1 500 000|
|2 500 000||Lower Pleistocene||Pebbels|