URL English and German

General Information:

The bifaces shown on this site are unsalable, they serve only for orientation to purchase similar artifacts. All artifacts shown are taken from the private collection of Ernst-Dieter Henze.

What are Bifaces (Hand-Axes)?

Bifaces, (Hand-axes) are, apart from simple Chopper and Pepple tools, surely the oldest tools of the early human on earth.

Regular we will find them as an characteristic artifact of the Older- and Middle Paleolithicum.


Hand-axes and hand-axe related equipments have been found on all continents. For Hand Ax finds, the richest continent is Africa, because there we have the distribution main emphasis. It is supposed that the type hand-axe was developed here, in which it doesn't have to be excluded that earlier forms could came from outside Africa.

Together with hand-axes are cleaver frequently found too, which often took one for unfinished hand-axes, however, are forming an independent tool group, which is in accordance with newer scientific reserch. Cleaver are artifacts with broad crossways blade and have mostly still incomplete surface retouching.

"Wedge knifes" (Keilmesser), often with long, on both sides retouched, beautifully curved, cutting blades, completes the overall picture of the hand-axe family.

Coarse timing:

The oldest, still very coarsely worked hand-axes of the Abbevillien type, were found in Africa, where they at least 600 000 years ago, were developed probably from pepple tools. Finer worked forms of the Acheuléen type appeared unless in Africa, also in Europe, India and southwest Asia, too. That was about 400 000-200 000 years ago. Their use and manufacturing run out slowly in the Moustérien, which was about 100 000 to 50 000 years ago.


The hand-axe is in principle a multi purpose tool for chopping, cutting and beating. They are are ideal e.g. to take a bag into pieces and therefore they are present in many kinds of shapes. Unless for hunting, hand axes could be used also for fighting against each other, which hand axes with very long slender tips are supposing.

Size of Bifaces (hand-axes):

Hand-axes you will find in most various measurements, the average length amounts approx. 100-250 mm, however lengths of about 1000 mm are also known. Some Hand-axes are only a few cm long, in which these will be not any longer designated as hand-axes, but more specialised hand-axe scraper and / or knifes. These artifacts often stand out due to a distinctive (midian) ridge, which indicates a specialized cutting blade and / or scraper use.

Artifacts of this type are known to me primarily from the Libyan deserts.


Almost all hand-axes in the African and Asian areas are made of rock materials and related Quarzite materials, they are rarely made from Silex. From Africa there are some locations known with hand-axes made of Obsidian, a volcanic glass.

The picture changes in the European area, if we think of the French hand-axes, which are mostly produced of the materials of the horn stone groups as Silex, Jasper and others.

Legality of artifacts:

All artefacts are legally acquired, mostly from collections of old collectors who have collected their artifacts around the turn of the century.

For most foreign artefacts corresponding import papers are available.

All artefacts are guaranteed of prehistoric or ethnologic origin, and after best knowledge and conscience don't date from questionable sources, from which He-Artefakte dissociated themselves.


All rights, also the statement wise reprinting, the photo mechanical or digital reproduction, alteration and translation are reserved only  to Ernst-Dieter Henze, He-Artefakte.







Got interested?

All pictured artifacts are from the collection of Ernst-Dieter Henze, from which a large choice can be purchased.

On the web site of Ernst-Dieter Henze you will find an extensive offer of genuine prehistoric artifacts, ethnic ornaments and traditional payment from all over the world!

Please visit URL English-German

Attention: Even if you have to wait sometime until the web site is full loaded, please have some patience, it is worth-while!

Copyright He-Artefakte. All Rights Reserved