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Acheulean

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Ignacio De La Torre – 1st expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • pounding tools in hwk ee and ef hr olduvai gorge tanzania percussive activities in the oldowan Acheulean transition
    Journal of Human Evolution, 2017
    Co-Authors: Adrian Arroyo, Ignacio De La Torre

    Abstract:

    In this paper, we present pounded objects from excavations at HWK EE and EF-HR, which are studied from macro and microscopic perspectives. Analysis of HWK EE revealed one of the largest collections of percussive objects from Olduvai Gorge, while excavations at EF-HR have allowed us to recover a much wider collection of percussive tools than previously recorded. Differences are observed between the two localities. At the Acheulean site of EF-HR, percussive tools were predominantly used in the production of flakes and large cutting tools (LCTs). At the Oldowan site of HWK EE, the tool repertoire probably related to a wider range of activities, including bone breaking and bipolar knapping. Comparison of these two assemblages, potentially produced by different hominin species, helps provide a wider picture of pounding activities during the Oldowan-Acheulean transition at Olduvai Gorge.

  • the transition to the Acheulean in east africa an assessment of paradigms and evidence from olduvai gorge tanzania
    Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 2014
    Co-Authors: Ignacio De La Torre, Rafael Mora

    Abstract:

    The origin of the Acheulean constitutes a key aspect of current research in the archaeology of human evolution. Olduvai Gorge is one of the main sites in Africa in the study of the transition from the Oldowan to the Acheulean, due to both the uniqueness of its archaeological record, and the influence of early investigations at Olduvai on the development of Early Stone Age research. This paper reviews the impact of work at Olduvai in shaping a modern view of cultural evolution from the Oldowan to the Acheulean. It also evaluates the lithic assemblages excavated by Mary Leakey in Olduvai Middle and Upper Bed II, based on a first-hand review of the collections. We conclude that previous paradigms used to explain inter-assemblage variability are not superseded as much as generally assumed, and that a modern view of the origins of the Acheulean requires a reassessment of the cultural, biological, and paleoecological evidence at Olduvai and elsewhere in Africa.

  • Acheulean technological behaviour in the middle pleistocene landscape of mieso east central ethiopia
    Journal of Human Evolution, 2014
    Co-Authors: Ignacio De La Torre, Rafael Mora, Adrian Arroyo, Alfonso Benitocalvo

    Abstract:

    The Mieso valley is a new paleoanthropological sequence located in East-Central Ethiopia. It contains Middle and Upper Pleistocene deposits with fossil and lithic assemblages in stratified deposits. This paper introduces the Middle Pleistocene archaeological sequence, attributed to the late Acheulean. Low density clusters of artefacts suggest short-term use of the landscape by Acheulean hominins. In Mieso 31, one of the excavated assemblages, refit sets indicate fragmentation of the reduction sequences and enable study of the initial stages of biface manufacture. Mieso 7, also a stratified site, is primarily characterized by a small concentration of standardized cleavers, and portrays another dimension of Acheulean technology, that related to final stages of use and discard of large cutting tools. Available radiometric dates place the Mieso Acheulean around 212 ka (thousands of years) ago, which would make this sequence among the latest evidence of the Acheulean in East Africa, in a time span when the Middle Stone Age is already documented in the region.

Kathleen Kuman – 2nd expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • experimental flaking in the danjiangkou reservoir region central china a rare case of bipolar blanks in the Acheulean
    Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2017
    Co-Authors: Hao Li, Chaorong Li, Nicole L Sherwood, Kathleen Kuman

    Abstract:

    Abstract The exploration of techniques used to produce large flakes has long been a focus in Acheulean studies, especially from an experimental perspective. In this study we develop an experimental methodology to analyze Acheulean materials from the Danjiangkou Reservoir Region (DRR) in central China. The results show that large flakes experimentally produced with the bipolar technique can be easily distinguished from flakes produced by the other techniques due to the compression fracture unique to this method of flaking. These bipolar flakes show features consistent with those observed on a portion of the DRR archaeological handaxes. We suggest that the internal flaws and foliated structure found in quartz phyllite can actually assist in splitting cobbles, and consequently, they make bipolar flaking easier and effective. The anvil and throwing techniques have the next most successful ratio in detaching large flakes. The freehand technique is the least successful. Overall, the experimental study reported in this paper clearly demonstrates that raw materials influence the choice of flaking techniques, and the bipolar technique is a unique characteristic of the DRR Acheulean.

  • The Rietputs 15 site and Early Acheulean in South Africa
    Quaternary International, 2017
    Co-Authors: Kathleen Kuman, Ryan J Gibbon

    Abstract:

    Abstract South Africa has a rich record of Acheulean sites, but the Early Acheulean is thus far limited to a handful of secondary context sites. These are in the Cradle of Humankind (ca 1.7 to 1.0 Ma) in Gauteng Province in the northeast and in two site complexes in the Northern Cape Province in the interior of the country. This paper describes the typology and technology of an assemblage from Rietputs 15, Northern Cape Province, where burial dating with cosmogenic nuclides has demonstrated the first Early Acheulean assemblages beyond Gauteng Province (Gibbon et al., 2009). The assemblage is named ACP after its location (Artefact Collection Pit) near Rietputs Pit 1, which has an age of ca 1.7 Ma and is at the western side of the Rietputs farm. Organized core reduction strategies are absent from ACP, but they are present in a second assemblage collected from Rietputs Pit 5 over 2 km to the east in the same site complex, where dates from five gravels, all of which contain stone tools, range from ca 1.2 to 1.6 Ma. The Pit 5 assemblage with organized core flaking strategies is directly dated to ca 1.3 Ma (Leader et al., in press). Also at the nearby site of Canteen Kopje, an assemblage excavated from a layer dated to 1.51 Ma contains organized core reduction strategies (Leader 2014). Based on these technological comparisons and on the comparable nature of the large cutting tools (LCTs) with those from the Cradle of Humankind, we interpret the ACP site at Rietputs 15 to be older than 1.3–1.5 Ma. This assemblage adds to our understanding of the Early Acheulean in South Africa. Large cutting tools in the two regions were made both on flakes and cobbles and show much variability in plan form. Pick-like forms are common but not exclusive. The LCTs from both regions are described to provide a picture of Early Acheulean adaptations in South Africa.

  • early Acheulean organised core knapping strategies ca 1 3 ma at rietputs 15 northern cape province south africa
    Quaternary International, 2016
    Co-Authors: Kathleen Kuman, George M Leader, Ryan J Gibbon, Darryl E Granger

    Abstract:

    Abstract The Rietputs 15 site near Windsorton (Northern Cape, South Africa) has recently gained attention as the first Early Acheulean site in South Africa to be dated with an absolute rather than relative method (Gibbon et al., 2009). A large assemblage from Pit 5 has a cosmogenic nuclide burial age of 1.31 ± 0.21 Ma. In addition to the Early Acheulean handaxes, cleavers and picks retrieved from this pit, a notable feature is the presence of an organised core flaking strategy, which contrasts with the simpler reduction methods that dominate the assemblage. Just over 17% of the cores display features that demonstrate hominids were able to control core working in order to exploit the largest surface, occasionally for a preferential removal. The most common form of organised core has an asymmetrical shape, in which the underside is worked pyramidally to produce a larger upper surface suitable for yielding sizeable flakes, and in the most developed form flakes are removed perpendicular to the surface. Limited platform working of these cores suggests that raw materials were intentionally selected for large surfaces and shapes appropriate for organised flaking. Hornfels comprises over 64% of the raw materials, which is unusual in the African earlier Acheulean. Rietputs 15 provides strong supporting evidence for the origins of organised flaking strategies during the course of the Early Acheulean.

Rosalia Gallotti – 3rd expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • Before, During, and After the Early Acheulean at Melka Kunture (Upper Awash, Ethiopia): A Techno-economic Comparative Analysis
    Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, 2018
    Co-Authors: Rosalia Gallotti, Margherita Mussi

    Abstract:

    The emergence of the Acheulean is a major topic, currently debated by archaeologists researching all over East Africa. Despite the ongoing discussion and the increasing amount of available data, the mode(s) of the technological changes leading to this emergence remain(s) largely unexplained. Overall, there is a dearth of continuous stratigraphic sequences recording both the late Oldowan and the early Acheulean at the same site. Accordingly, the technological changes cannot be evaluated taking into account the variability of each microregional context. Besides, the early Acheulean must be defined not only with respect to the Oldowan, but also in comparison with the following middle Acheulean.

  • The Emergence of the Acheulean in East Africa: Historical Perspectives and Current Issues
    Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, 2018
    Co-Authors: Rosalia Gallotti, Margherita Mussi

    Abstract:

    We review below the Acheulean of East Africa from two perspectives: the history of research and the current state of the art. The definition of Acheulean industries has changed considerably over 150 years and since the earliest research in Africa. A brief presentation of the main discoveries, of the many theories, and of the various methods used in Acheulean archaeological research will help in understanding the current debate and the topics addressed in this volume.

  • Two Acheuleans, two humankinds: From 1.5 to 0.85 Ma at Melka Kunture (Upper Awash, Ethiopian highlands).
    Journal of anthropological sciences = Rivista di antropologia : JASS, 2016
    Co-Authors: Rosalia Gallotti, Margherita Mussi

    Abstract:

    The Acheulean is the longest-lasting human cultural record, spanning approximately 1.5 Ma and three continents. The most comprehensive sequences are found in East Africa, where, in largescale syntheses, the Lower Pleistocene Acheulean (LPA) has often been considered a uniform cultural entity. Furthermore, the emergence and development of Acheulean technology are seen as linked to the emergence and evolution of Homo ergaster/erectus. The criterion for grouping together different lithic assemblages scattered over space and time is the presence of large cutting tools (LCTs), more than of any other component. Their degree of refinement has been used, in turn, as a parameter for evaluating Acheulean development and variability. But was the East African LPA really uniform as regards all components involved in lithic productions? The aim of this paper is to evaluate the techno-economic similarities and differences among LPA productions in a specific micro-regional and environmental context, i.e. at Melka Kunture, in the Ethiopian highlands, and in a specific period of time: between ≈1.5 Ma, when some of the earliest Acheulean complexes appeared, and 1.0-0.85 Ma, when LCTs productions became intensive and widespread. Our detailed comparative analyses investigate all aspects and phases of the chaînes opératoires. Since hominin fossil remains were discovered at some of the analyzed sites, we also discuss differences among lithic productions in relation to the changing paleoanthropological record. Our studies show that at Melka Kunture the LPA techno-complexes cannot be grouped into a single uniform entity. The assembled evidence points instead to “two Acheuleans” well-defined by a strong discontinuity in various aspects of techno-economic behaviors. This discontinuity is related to a major step in human evolution: the transition from Homo ergaster/ erectus to Homo heidelbergensis.