Halfan culture

Not to be confused with Halofantrine, which is marketed as Halfan.

The Halfan industry is one of the earliest known backed-bladelet industry in Eastern Africa and is dated to 18,000 and 12,500 BC in Nubia and Egypt.[1]

While the Halfan has complex typological attributes because of a radical shift in tool types through time, it is possible to say that, overall, it is characterized by three main tools: Halfa flakes, backed microflakes, and backed microblades. It is only during a transitional stage that all three occur in significant amounts, but all types do occur in every assemblage. The most general typological observation, one which also directly relates to the technology, is the relative proportions of flakes, microblades, and cores chosen for retouch. This, obviously reflects both the tools desired in each assemblage (i.e., Halfa flakes vs. backed microblades), and the degree of the development of the microblade technology (i.e., backed flakes vs. backed microblades). Without question, the lithic technology is based on flake production. The Halfa core, however has the seeds of a blade technology in its preparation. The occurrence of a few wedgeshaped cores also points to a very incipient interest in blade production. It is almost as if the development of a blade technology was in the process of evolving out of the preparation technique needed for a Halfa core. This technology, however, has barely reached a conscious stage. Core technology is very poor. The only type which shows a high stage of development is the Halfa core. The basic orientation of the Halfa core to opposed platforms is reflected in the number of poor opposed platform flake cores. These, however, are never extensively utilized, and no real care has gone into their initial preparation. The Haifa core does, however, have a number of features which could lead to more generalized, yet effective, core types. Levallois cores are present, but they are poorly made and have not received the careful attention that the Halfa cores have. In fact, the Levallois flake is merely a more generalized form of Halfa flake and as such could have been of no great value to an industry producing Halfa flakes.[2] Christopher Ehret proposes that the Proto-Afro-Asiatic languages may have begun to spread from this area at about this time period, leading to the speculation that Halfan people may have spoken a variant of the Afro-Asiatic languages.


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