Bone knife from Morocco is the oldest specialized bone tool associated with the Aterian culture

04-10-2018 by Robyn Mason

A single bone artefact found in a Moroccan cave is the oldest well-dated specialized bone tool associated with the Aterian culture of the Middle Stone Age, according to a study co-authored by Prof Nick Barton and Dr Jean-Luc Schwenninger. 

The tool was recovered in 2012 from Dar es-Soltan 1 cave, located about 260m inland from the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Upon close examination, the team of scientists were able to identify the origins of the bone as a large mammal rib with evidence of having been shaped and sharpened into a knife measuring at just under 13cm long through a complex series of modifications. The layer containing the bone knife has been dated to approximately 90,000 years ago, approximately 55,000 years after the first appearance of the Aterian culture.

 

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