The 'Aterian industry' was a stone tool tradition of the Middle and Late Paleolithic period. Derived from the Mousterian culture in the region around the Atlas Mountains and the northern Sahara, it refers the site of Bir el Ater, south of Annaba. The Aterian people were among the first to use the bow and arrow, Aterian stone tools are an advanced African form of the European Levalloisian tradition, adapted to desert use. A distinctive Aterian sign is the formation of stems, or tangs, on tools to facilitate hafting; this was done on spearheads, arrowheads, and scrapers. Bifacial spearheads were produced with a very fine pressure chipping technique, equivalent in difficulty to those used in later tool traditions such as the Mousterian. Leaf-shaped blades made by the Aterians have been likened to Solutrean blades; it has often been suggested that the Aterians may have entered the Iberian Peninsula during Solutrean times.
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