added by archaeologs A stone tool culture of the Middle and Late Palaeolithic, widespread in the late Pleistocene in northern Africa. Centered on the Atlas Mountains, but with extensions into Libya and deep into the Sahara, the Aterian people were among the first to use the bow and arrow. It appears to have developed, perhaps initially in the Maghreb of Algeria and Morocco, from the local Mousterian tradition. Aterian assemblages, named after Bir el Ater in Tunisia, are marked by the presence of varied flake tools, many of which possess a marked tang. Some tools (such as side scrapers and Levallois flakes) resemble Mousterian types, but the tanged points and bifacially worked leaf-shaped points appear distinctively Aterian. The leaf-shaped blades, however, have been likened to Solutrean blades and it has often been suggested that the Aterians may have entered the Iberian Peninsula during Solutrean times. The date at which the Aterian first appeared is not well attested, but may have been c 80,000 BC. The Aterian occupation came to an end c 35,000 BC as the Sahara became drier and unsuitable for human settlement.
added by archaeologs Widely distributed Upper Pleistocene stone industry of northern Africa. It appears to have developed, perhaps initially in the Maghreb of Algeria and Morocco, from the local Mousterian tradition. The date at which the Aterian first appeared is not well attested, but may have been c80,000 bc. The Aterian occurs throughout the Sahara, from near the Atlantic seaboard almost as far east as the Nile. The Sahara at this time was relatively well watered, with Mediterranean evergreen vegetation in many highland areas, whence rivers flowed to the more arid plains. Aterian assemblages, named after Bir el Ater in Tunisia, are marked by the presence of varied flake tools, many of which possess a marked tang. It is generally assumed, but cannot yet be proven, that such artefacts were hafted. They include not only projectile points but also scrapers and pieces with little retouch other than that forming the tang. In the southern Sahara, as at Adrar Bous, as well as in the areas bordering on the Nile Valley, as at Bir Terfawi, the Aterian industries include fully bifacial points. Later occurrences emphasize parallel-sided blades. The Aterian occupation came to an end c35,000 bc, as increasing aridity resulted in most of the Sahara becoming unsuitable for human settlement.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983