Neolithic Sickle


This is a superb crescent-shaped finely serrated and thin bladed bifacial Danish Neolithic flint sickle dating to the later 3rd. millennium B.C. The final Debitage of such tools is virtually indistinguishable from the late-stage reduction of contemporary daggers. Unfortunately many of these sickles have been found “to early” (during the 19th and early 20th century) and therefore the context of most of these findings is not know. If they were used inserted in curved handles or attached to a proximal handle remains an open question. While the late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age Daggers of Northern Europe have been gained much scientific attention, there is any published systematic literature about the context, trace ware studies and geographic distribution of these sickles.

 Sickle blades become visible in the archaeological record during the late Kebaran and Natufian of the Levant. Most of them are simple backed blade segments and are additionally identified by a characteristic sickle gloss which shows, that these implements have been used to cut out the silica rich stems of cereals. Note that there are unquestionable sickles without any gloss, and that gloss can also be formed under other conditions, for example when using these artifacts as threshing sledge inserts.

Levantine Epipaleolithic and Neolithic sickles were usually hafted along their backs, parallel to the working edge, and not Dagger like with a proximal handle. The handle was made from organic material (usually wood and bone).

 A good example is the sickle found at the Early Natufian site of Wadi Hammeh 27:

 A complete sickle from the Fayum Neolithic is shown at:

Wooden sickle handles are known from the site of La Draga, an early Cardial Neolithic village, located on the eastern shore of the Estany de Banyoles (Lake Banyoles) in Catalonia. This site dates from the end of the 6th millennium BC. At La Draga the blades were inserted into one side of the tool, at right angles to the handle:

 A nice example of a late Neolithic Eastern European Sickle is shown at:

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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome!

About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University.

Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.

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