The awl shows good patination of the ivory bone coloured surface, this etched with lines cuts. Now smooth and having a good patina of the surface bone after being lost for some hundreds of years in a desert environment.
Bone awls are classified according to the characteristics of the bone used in the manufacture of the tool. Some bone awls retain an epiphysis, the rounded end of a long bone, where the joint or adjacent bone would be attached. A knuckle end then can be worked to comfortably fit in the hand. Long animal bones are split and worked to a fine point. This bone awl has been profusely overworked to create a fine needle style awl, which appears to have the sole function of a piercing tool. This is not typical of a type of awl found produced from an animal bone with an epiphysis end. Attribution of the animal from whence it derived at this point is not assured.
History; An awl is produced from a long bone, normally around 100mm to 150mm in length, although smaller and larger are unearthed from archaeological sites. The pointed spike end is generally used for piercing or marking softer materials, wood or leather. The bone awl was an all-purpose implement for Homo Neanderthalensis (Neandertals or Neanderthals), to Homo sapiens. Also, its uses were for making large holes in anything less resilient than bone. It can also function as an alternative to antler, as a pressure flaker when knapping flint points or shaping razor edge knives. And an awl can be a useful tool for many other applications, picking out, splitting softwoods, to open weft in basket making, digging up tuba’s or roots, for the production of fishing hooks or barbs and possibly an awl could be used as a formidable stabbing weapon when hunting or in defence. Therefore an important part of early man's tool kit and armoury.
The oldest bone tools so far discovered are from the continent of Africa, these approximately dated to 1.5 million years ago. It is accepted that they appeared and the technology was developed there before any other geographic region.
In the Blombos Cave excavations since 1997 in the Southern tip of Africa, at the Heidelberg, Western Cape, South Africa. Have revealed a collection of twenty-eight bone tools from layers dating to 70 thousand years old. To the period in time attributed to the Middle Stone Age (280,000 years ago to 50–25,000 years ago). Subsequent analyses of these splintered polished bone tools have revealed that a formal method of production produced them.
Provence: Atacameños, pre-Inca peoples, Patagonia (Chile). Discovered between Chañaral north of Caldera. Caldera is a port city and commune in the Copiapó Province of the Atacama Region in northern Chile. Chañaral is a small coastal city and commune in the Atacama Region, Chile and capital of the Chañaral Province. The Atacama people, known as atacameños or atacama, are an indigenous people from the Atacama Desert and altiplano region in the north of Chile, Argentina and Southern Bolivia.
Etching marks on the polished surface of this awl denotes a form of decoration or alternatively from when the bone was cut to shape, this yet has to be determined, however, these markings are the signature of the ancient producing the artefact, characteristics of the Atacameños culture that produced it.
Type: Bone Awl Pre Inca, Atacameños people.
Period: 500 AD
Origin: Patagonia (Chile).
Length: 8.2 cm
Width: 0.7 cm
Depth: 0.6 cm
Approximate weight: 0,004 Kg