Archaeologists recently discovered 8,000-year-old stone fluted points on the Arabian Peninsula, the same technology developed by Native Americans 13,000 years ago, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.
When the stone tools were first unearthed, researchers suspected there was something familiar about them. Scientists took note of the flute-like grooves texturing the sides of the stone points.
The tools examined for the study were found in Manayzah in Yemen and Ad-Dahariz in Oman, researchers said.
“We recognized this technique as … probably the most famous of the prehistoric techniques used in the American continent,” lead researcher Remy Crassard, head of archaeology at the French Center for Archaeology and Social Sciences, told UPI. “It took us little time to recognize it, but it took us more time to understand why fluting was present in Arabia.”
For nearly a century, archaeologists have been uncovering evidence of fluted point technology at Native American sites dating between 10,000 and 13,000 years old.
Stone fluted points in the Americas are typically characterized by markings along the bases of spearpoints and blades. In Arabia, the fluting appeared closer to the tips of the ancient stone points.
Native Americans used hafting to more securely fix blades and points to handles and arrows. The people of the Arabian Peninsula used the same technique for a different purpose.
“In Arabia, they were using this same technique to create a flat zone on the back of the points, but as fluting comes from the tip most of the time, the hafting interpretation doesn’t work,” Crassard said.
“It must have been done for other reasons, and we tried to argue that it was more related to a form of ‘bravado’ or display of skill,” Crassard said.
According to the paper’s authors, the technologies are separated by too much time and space to have been the result of cultural exchange. Instead, the latest discovery is an example of cultural convergence.
“There are many examples [of cultural convergence] and from very diverse periods in human history,” Crassard said.
“For example, polished stone axes are known from the Western European Neolithic, the Mayan culture of Central America and the 19-20th century tribes of Indonesia,” Crassard said. “These three examples were never connected in time and space, but the objects produced and found by archaeologists are very similar.”