23 May 2016
They're "More like a Beatles' Tune:" Another Acheulean handaxe from the Maghreb with a human face profile on its mid right edge
Acheulean handaxe from Mauratania, in north west Africa
The pattern of human face profiles on the mid-right edges of some Acheulean handaxes argues for them being "More Like a Beatles' Tune Than a Bird's Song," to invoke the analogies from a recent paper on the subject.
To some people of the past, handaxes were more than just functional items. These faces are simple and very old but the observable pattern of their presence on many handaxes indicates a broad geo-temporal world art tradition.
The incorporation of human facial profiles seems to be a strong indicator of a culturally-mediated behavior in handaxe manufacture rather than a largely neurologically based one.
Illustration of the interpreted human face profile. The pattern I have observed has the faces in this same position or just a bit higher. It is unlikely the behavior to 'animate' the handaxes in this way was hardwired in the brain (like a bird's song) and it must have had a symbolic significance to the presumed Homo erectus, Homo ergaster or Homo heidelbergensis makers of these items.