The flint artefacts from two workshops at Wadi el-Sheikh, Eastern Desert, Egypt
A stone quarry at Wadi el-Sheikh is recognized as an important source of flint in ancient Egypt. In 1896–1897 a substantial sample of stone artefacts, from fifteen separate workshops, was collected and placed in various museums across the world. This material remains virtually unknown, including two assemblages kept in Australia, which are analyzed in this study. It is evidenced that both workshops produced predominantly flint knives and a smaller number of cleavers for distribution away from the quarry, in an earlier part of the third millennium Before the Common Era (BCE) often referred to as the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150–2686 BCE) and Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2181 BCE). There is a strong indication that the workshops represent a tiny portion of a large supply network. Two types of tools, a pick and a hoe, are recognized as digging implements associated with a quarry, but are also present on sites in Egypt where excavation took place.