Small axes from Syria


syria adze aggsbachThese are three small axes (not longer than 3 cm) from precious raw materials, found together in the vicinity of Aleppo. They are extremely fine polished and represent great examples of fine workmanship. Two of the axes are made from Jadeite.

Jadeite as raw material for stone tools in Israel and Syria appears in the archaeological record not before the PPNA. During the PPNB period of the Levant there are some indications of a closer contact and more formal trading over the “PPNB-interaction Sphere” compared to previous times. Such contacts became even more important during and after the Bronze Age. These contacts included the exchange of obsidian, turquoise, jadeite and flint. Jadeite was imported in to Syria from rich sources in the central Anatolian and the Marmara region and used both for the production of stone tools but more often for the making of fine beads: (*&what=Jadeite&pos=1).

It does not seem that these three small sized implements were reworked from larger axes. They were certainly designed as small artifacts. Although one could speculate about their use for meticulous small scale work, they are probably too small for any utilitarian purpose. It seems possible, that the rare and presumably valuable raw material was only used for artifacts within a ritual context. Similar items of the Levant and the Maghreb were perforated as pendants, which is not the case in our examples. Anyhow, without knowing the exact context of these findings, their function remains enigmatic.

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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