Bronze Age microliths at Saruq al-Hadid, Dubai
Keywords:stone tools, backed artefacts, arrowheads, Wadi Suq period, Late Bronze Age
Excavations at Saruq al-Hadid, Dubai, have recovered a large assemblage of stone artefacts, including backed microliths, from a dense midden of animal bone deposited during the mid-second millennium BC. Stoneworkers at Saruq al-Hadid combined simple core reduction methods with sophisticated backing techniques to produce the microliths. Unstandardized flake blanks were backed directly, or were truncated into segments which were subsequently backed. The final stage of backing was carefully controlled and was probably accomplished using a pressure technique; the backed surface on many microliths is distinctively domed in profile. Most microliths are asymmetrical in shape and many display a distinctive scalene triangle morphology. The microliths probably functioned as armatures for arrows, although other functions are possible. Here we contextualize microlith production at Saruq al-Hadid through a review of late prehistoric microlith traditions in south-eastern Arabia and neighbouring regions of Asia and Africa. This raises intriguing but unresolved issues related to preceding technological traditions, cultural connections, and group identity.
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