Tilemsi Points



Neolithic Points from the Lower Tilemsi Valley

The Lower Tilemsi Valley in northeastern Mali is an important region in sub-Saharan West Africa in the development of the local Neolithic. In this post I define Neolithic populations as those people who produced ceramics and grinding implements prior to the appearance of metallurgy. They may or may not have practiced agriculture and animal husbandry. In the Tilemsi region, a fully developed agro-pastoral economy (herding and collecting wild grasses) is securely present at the end of the 3rd millennium BC and maybe present even some centuries earlier.

French archaeologists have defined, mainly on the basis of surface collections, several local facies of the Tilemsi Valley Neolithic, called Facies A (Region of Asselar;  Mid 4rd millennium BC in the North), B, K, T (undated) and Facies K (Region of Karkarichinkat; 3rd millennium BC)

Typologically the “facies K” is characterized primarily by the abundance of Tilemsi points made on triangular stemmed blades, with a proximal tang made by a bifacial denticulation. The distal tip of the artifacts may or may not be worked. “Facies K” is also defined by other tanged artifacts and bifacially retouched Projectiles with distinct flaired barbs that are of great beauty and which are made of precious raw materials. Bifacial knives similar to those found in the Nile valley during the Neolithic and Predynastic times are also present.

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