A wonderful 11 cm long bifacial leaf shaped instrument from Fayum coming from Caton Thomsons survey and originally part of an American University collection, that was later closed and sold. The Neolithic A in the Fayum area is supposed to have started in the middle 6th millennium cal.BC. Neolithic people lived on farming and herding as well as hunting and fishing, and their culture is characterised by the appearance of pottery and bifacially-retouched elaborate flint tools.
Noriyuki Shirai from the Leiden University argued, that the timing of the advent of farming in the Fayum can be estimated by the presence of peculiar sickle blades during the early Neolithic of this area. Neolithic sickle blades at Fayum and in Lower Egypt are bifacially-retouched and deeply serrated on their working edge. Such sickle blades are known from early Levantine Pottery Neolithic sites (the Yarmukian, and Lodian [Jericho IX]), dated to the early 6th millennium cal. BC.
It seems reasonable to consider that specific Neolithic techniques were accepted in Lower Egypt not earlier than during the early 6th millennium cal. BC. This process was possibly triggered by a climatic and environmental change around 6200 cal. BC, that finally lead to the desiccation of the southern Levant, Negev and Sinai and to changes of the rain regime in these areas and in Lower Egypt. These changes enabled for the first time during the Holocene winter crops like Levantine wheat and barley to thrive Northern Egypt. The people of Fayum adopted farming and herding into their lifestyle, but without abandon their major subsistence forms of hunting and fishing for the next millennium.It must be reconsidered that the late beginning of farming in Egypt is definitely not a reflection of Egyptian people’s unreasonable reluctance or resistance to adopting a new subsistence for a long time, but would merely have been due to an ecological reason.
The thesis of Noriyuki Shirai can be download at:https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/15339