Sickle blade - ROM2018_16147_33


Sickle blade

Geography: al-Fayyūm, Egypt
Date: c. 5300-3000 BC
Period: Predynastic Period
4.6 × 1.5 × 0.4 cm
Object number: 909.96.66
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Small worked flints like this one, only a few centimetres long, are the evidence for grain cultivation early in Egypt's Predynastic history, during the Paleolithic and Neolithic.

Small geometric flints, usually rectangular or trapezoidal, have been found in many parts of Egypt near the Nile, and in the Fayuum, and all the way out to the remote Khargh and Siwa Oases.  When halfted in a wooden handle, or a bone, they formed the cutting edge of a sickle for reaping grain. Abrasion from the siliceous stalks leaves a polished sheen on the cutting edge.  This sheen is the evidence for deliberate grain harvesting.

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