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Lecture 3

Archaeology Lecture Three + Readings

9 Pages
106 Views

Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT100Y1
Professor
Christopher Watts

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EARLY HOMININ CULTURES
Tool Traditions
NOTE: Lower Palaeolithic lasted 2.5MYA 300KYA
Stone tools found at East Africa date about to the time of H. habilis
oAnthropologists surmise that H. habilis made the tools rather than the
australopithecines since they had a the greater brain capacity
All the hominins that lived from at least 2.5MYA had a thumb capable of toolmaking
Earliest tools found come from the sites in East Africa (Olduvai Gorge) and date up
to 2.5MYA
oOldowan is the earliest stone toolmaking tradition, which is named after the
tools found in Bed I at the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania
Stone artifacts include core tools and sharp-edged flakes by striking
one against another (known as percussion flaking)
Flake tools predominate
Pebble choppers are the most common of the core tools
Unifacial tool: a tool worked or flaked on one side only
Bifacial tool: a tool worked or flaked on two sides
Lifestyles (TEXTBOOK ONLY)
Some purposes of Oldowan tools is slitting hides of animals, whittling wood into
spears etc.
oScratches parallel to a tool indicates tool was used in a sawing motion
oPerpendicular scratches suggest whittling or scraping
Archaeologists believe early tools were also made of wood and bone
Evidence shows on animal remains that hominins shortly after 2MYA were cutting
up animal carcasses for meat using stone flake tools
Artifacts and animal remains in Bed I and lower part of Bed II at Olduvai suggest a
few things about the lifestyles of hominins
oAppears that hominins moved around during the year
oMost sites in the gorge seem to have been used during dry seasons
www.notesolution.com
oEarly Olduvai hominins exploited a wide range of animals when scavenging
oIt is believed that Olduvai Gorge was used as a home base to bring back food
from the hunt to share with the others (nursing mothers and children)
Language (TEXTBOOK ONLY)
Evidence of language capabilities come from skeletal evidence such as increased
flexion of the basicranium
Only evidence of language capabilities for H. habilis is an old endocast that shows a
more developed frontal lobe and Brocas area
Some suggest that bipedalism, which allowed free movement of hands, may have
provided the ability of communication by means of hand gestures
HOMO erectus/ergaster CULTURE
Lived around 1.9MYA
First to use fire
o1.5MYA; Swartkans cave (South Africa)
o1.4MYA; Kenya , East Africa
First to leave Africa
oAdapted to a number of environments (e.g., Europe, Southeast Asia) by
1.8MYA
Assumed to have made the tools dating from 1.8MYA to 200KYA
Continued to use Oldowan chopper technique but also developed a more
sophisticated tool technique called Acheulian
The Acheulian Tool Tradition
Named after the site St. Acheul, France where first examples were found
Oldest tools dated back about 1.5MYA (lasted until 60,000BP)
oRecovered from East Africa on the Peninj River of Tanzania
Larger than Oldowan tools with a set of typical designs and shapes
oExamples of such tools are choppers, flake tools, cleavers (used to split wood;
extract marrow) and hand axes
Hand axes were a teardrop shaped bifacially flaked tool with a thin
sharp tip
www.notesolution.com
Seemed suitable for butchering large animals
Showed evidence of skill (knapping techniques)
Symmetry around long axis may show signs of cognitive development
Found widely in Africa, Europe and western Asia
oCleavers, picks and hand axes are commonly found in eastern and southeast
Asia
oReason why it may be more common there is because of the abundance of
bamboo (great material for making tools)
Big-Game Eating (TEXTBOOK ONLY)
Some sites have produced evidence of big-game eating
oSites such as Torralba and Ambrona, Spain; BK II in Tanzania (dates back to
400KYA)
Campsites (TEXTBOOK ONLY)
Usually located close to water sources, lush vegetation, large stocks of herbivorous
animals and caves
Centre of many group functions; each site has a specialized function
Generally located close to a source of natural stone suitable for toolmaking
Terra Amata site near Nice, on the French Riviera is possibly the earliest identified
hominin shelters (400KYA-200KYA)
Religion and Ritual
Red ochre (oxidized clay) have been found on a number of Lower Palaeolithic sites
oUsed in rituals of various types to represent blood, or more generally, life
oImportant in burial rituals
oHuman remains sprinkled with red ochre has been dated back to the Middle
Palaeolithic (200KYA)
oMay also have been used for body decoration or protection against insects and
sunburn
Some excavators believe H. erectus showed evidence of ritual cannibalism
oForamen magnum on specimens had been deliberately enlarged
www.notesolution.com

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Description
EARLY HOMININ CULTURES Tool Traditions NOTE: Lower Palaeolithic lasted 2.5MYA 300KYA Stone tools found at East Africa date about to the time of H. habilis o Anthropologists surmise that H. habilis made the tools rather than the australopithecines since they had a the greater brain capacity All the hominins that lived from at least 2.5MYA had a thumb capable of toolmaking Earliest tools found come from the sites in East Africa (Olduvai Gorge) and date up to 2.5MYA o Oldowan is the earliest stone toolmaking tradition, which is named after the tools found in Bed I at the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania Stone artifacts include core tools and sharp-edged flakes by striking one against another (known as percussion flaking) Flake tools predominate Pebble choppers are the most common of the core tools Unifacial tool: a tool worked or flaked on one side only Bifacial tool: a tool worked or flaked on two sides Lifestyles (TEXTBOOK ONLY) Some purposes of Oldowan tools is slitting hides of animals, whittling wood into spears etc. o Scratches parallel to a tool indicates tool was used in a sawing motion o Perpendicular scratches suggest whittling or scraping Archaeologists believe early tools were also made of wood and bone Evidence shows on animal remains that hominins shortly after 2MYA were cutting up animal carcasses for meat using stone flake tools Artifacts and animal remains in Bed I and lower part of Bed II at Olduvai suggest a few things about the lifestyles of hominins o Appears that hominins moved around during the year o Most sites in the gorge seem to have been used during dry seasons www.notesolution.com
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