The Oldowan Industrial Complex has long been thought to have been static, with limited internal variability, embracing techno-complexes essentially focused on small-to-medium flake production. The flakes were rarely modified by retouch to produce small tools, which do not show any standardized pattern. Usually, the manufacture of small standardized tools has been interpreted as a more complex behavior emerging with the Acheulean technology. Here we report on the ~1.7 Ma Oldowan assemblages from Garba IVE-F at Melka Kunture in the Ethiopian highland. This industry is structured by technical criteria shared by the other East African Oldowan assemblages. However, there is also evidence of a specific technical process never recorded before, i.e. the systematic production of standardized small pointed tools strictly linked to the obsidian exploitation. Standardization and raw material selection in the manufacture of small tools disappear at Melka Kunture during the Lower Pleistocene Acheulean. This proves that 1) the emergence of a certain degree of standardization in toolkits does not reflect in itself a major step in cultural evolution; and that 2) the Oldowan knappers, when driven by functional needs and supported by a highly suitable raw material, were occasionally able to develop specific technical solutions. The small tool production at ~1.7 Ma, at a time when the Acheulean was already emerging elsewhere in East Africa, adds to the growing amount of evidence of Oldowan techno-economic variability and flexibility, further challenging the view that early stone knapping was static over hundreds of thousands of years.

The unknown Oldowan. ~1.7-million-year-old standardized obsidian small tools from Garba IV, Melka Kunture, Ethiopia / Gallotti, Rosalia; Mussi, Margherita. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - ELETTRONICO. - 10:12(2015), pp. 1-23. [10.1371/journal.pone.0145101]

The unknown Oldowan. ~1.7-million-year-old standardized obsidian small tools from Garba IV, Melka Kunture, Ethiopia

GALLOTTI, ROSALIA;MUSSI, Margherita
2015

Abstract

The Oldowan Industrial Complex has long been thought to have been static, with limited internal variability, embracing techno-complexes essentially focused on small-to-medium flake production. The flakes were rarely modified by retouch to produce small tools, which do not show any standardized pattern. Usually, the manufacture of small standardized tools has been interpreted as a more complex behavior emerging with the Acheulean technology. Here we report on the ~1.7 Ma Oldowan assemblages from Garba IVE-F at Melka Kunture in the Ethiopian highland. This industry is structured by technical criteria shared by the other East African Oldowan assemblages. However, there is also evidence of a specific technical process never recorded before, i.e. the systematic production of standardized small pointed tools strictly linked to the obsidian exploitation. Standardization and raw material selection in the manufacture of small tools disappear at Melka Kunture during the Lower Pleistocene Acheulean. This proves that 1) the emergence of a certain degree of standardization in toolkits does not reflect in itself a major step in cultural evolution; and that 2) the Oldowan knappers, when driven by functional needs and supported by a highly suitable raw material, were occasionally able to develop specific technical solutions. The small tool production at ~1.7 Ma, at a time when the Acheulean was already emerging elsewhere in East Africa, adds to the growing amount of evidence of Oldowan techno-economic variability and flexibility, further challenging the view that early stone knapping was static over hundreds of thousands of years.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/845113
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