Melka Kunture (Ethiopia) is a major paleoanthropological site a c. 2000m asl, on the banks of the Awash River and on the shoulder of the Ethiopian Rift. Excavations led by Jean Chavaillon started in 1965 and were directed by Marcello Piperno from 1999 to 2010. A minimum of 30 archaeological sites, and of 70 archaeological layers have been so far recognized, representing every major period of the African archaeological record, from the Oldowan to the Late Stone Age. New 40Ar/39Ar geochronological data for several volcanic ash horizons constrain the ages of interbedded archaeology and paleontology at the Garba, Gombore, Kella Melka Garba, Atebella, and Simbiro localities. The earliest site is Garba IV, where the base of the section may approach 1.8 ± 0.2 Ma, while the top is securely dated to 0.86 ±0.04 Ma. Another sequence is found at Gombore, with a most reliable age constraints, from 1.4 ±0.3 Ma near the base of the section to 0.70 ±0.03 Ma near the top. At Kella and Melka Garba an ignimbrite layer is dated to 1.24 ±0.08 Ma. The base of the Garba section with abundant Oldowan-style may be >1.7 ±0.4 Ma. Early Acheulean localities include Garba XII and Simbiro III; assemblages from Gombore II and Garba I are considered to be Middle and Late Acheulean, respectively. At Garba III there is evidence of an Acheulean-Middle Stone Age transition. Artifacts from Kella I and elsewhere represent the Late Stone Age. Among the most conspicuous features of the archaeology at Melka Kunture is the overwhelmingly predominant use of obsidian as a raw material, starting at Garba IV with the Oldowan, ~600 ka earlier than other known intensive obsidian exploitation. Obsidian was intensively used up to historic times in the area. The vertebrate paleontology is dominated by bovids, giraffids, hippopotamids, and suids, but primate remains were also discovered. Hominid fossils have been found during excavations at Gombore I and Garba IV, associated with Oldowan archaeology, as well as at Gombore II associated with Acheulean archaeology. Further remains were discovered at Garba III, in a MSA level.
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|Titolo:||The site of Melka Kunture (Upper Awash, Ethiopia): the archeological record from Oldowan to Late Stone Age|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2011|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||04d Abstract in atti di convegno|