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Lecture 3

Archaeology-Lecture 3-Lower and Middle Paleolithic Lifeways Nov 6 2008


Course Code
Marcel Danesi

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ANT100 Introduction to Anthropology 2008
Archaeology Section
Lecture 3 - Lower and Middle Paleolithic Lifeways
November 6, 2008
Major Biological Trends
y Influenced by shift in the mode of locomotion from quadrupedalism to bipedalism
y Major changes
I. Increased cranial capacity/decreased prognathism)
II. Change in shape in pelvis (shorter, broader illium)
III. Shift in position of the foramen magnum
IV. Change in shape of the dental arcade
Homo Habilis
y µHandy personµ- assumed tool making abilities
y First discovered by Louis and Mary Leakey in Bed I at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, in 1960
y Decrease in prognathism; higher, rounder cranium
y Increased in cranial capacity: 600-700 cc
y Thought to correlate with capacity to make stone tools, better exploit landscape
y Bipedal, but retained ability to climb trees
y Similar lengths in humeri/femora
y Similar to chimpanzees, but not like us
Origins of Human Culture
y We see with homo habilis, for the first time, evidence of learned behaviour in the form of:
y Tool use (the Oldowan Tool Tradition)
y Subsistence/Settlement practices (home bases)
y Social Organization
Early Tool Use: The Oldowan
y Earliest (?) µhuman technology- the Oldowan
I. Beginning of the lower Paleolithic Period
y Simple Tools; East Africa (Olduvai Gorge), ca. 2.5 MYA
II. Coincides with the emergence of H. habilis
y Notable for large pebble choppers with flakes removed at one end
Homo Habilis Tool Use
y Percussion flaking
y Oldowan tools found in associated with faunal remains at Olduvai Gorge (DK1)
I. Hunting or scavenging? (Pat Shipman)
II. Product of natural process?
III. Co-operation and food sharing?
Homo Erectus
y Transition to more advanced hominin forms, ex: Homo erectus ca. 1.9 MYA
y Transition coincides, roughly with the start of the Pleistocene
The Pleistocene
y Geological µepoch or time period
I. Aka the ice age; ca. 1.8 MYA- 12, 000 BP
y Characterized by cyclical warm/cold climatic conditions
y During glacial maxima, 30% of the earths surface covered by ice sheets
y On ice sheets . . .
y Several kilometres thick
I. major geomorphic al consequences
y Huge volume of water tier up
I. sea level drops on the order of 100-200 metres
II. Consequence: littoral sites now submerged
III. Consequence: less rain, dessert drier and more expansive
Homo Erectus
y Earliest specimens found in East Africa
I. ca. 1.8 MYA- 200, 000 BP
II. Ca. 1.5 MYA; fire, Smartcards (South Africa)
y First to Leave Africa
I. adapted to a number of environments, ex: Europe; SE Asia by 1.8 MYA!
The Acheulian Tradition
y Oldowan technology gives away to Acheulian by 1.5 MYA; lasts until ca. 60, 000 BP (still
Lower Paleolithic)
y Africa, Western Europe and SW Asia
y Choppers, flake tools, cleavers and hand axes
I. Regional variability
Acheulian Hand Axe
y Prepared core technology
I. Evidence of skill (knapping techniques)
y Symmetry around long axes
y Bifacial worked, multipurpose tools
I. Wood working, scraping skins, butchery
II. Recyclable into other tools
y Hunting Practices
y More Sophisticated
I. Required co-ordination and co-operation
y Reflect an increase in an social organization
y Evidence
I. Boxgrove, UK
II. Ambrona and Torralba, Spain
y Southern England (Sussex)
y Dated to ca. 500, 000 BP
y Watering hole; series of isolated activity areas used over thousands of years
y Rhinoceroses, bison, deer, horse, bear taken
Ambrona and Torralba
y Spain, ca. 400, 000 to 200, 000 BP
y Both sites located in valleys; migratory routes
y Butchered elephants
I. Sites littered with hand axes, cleavers, scrapers
y Coordinated attack (elephants driven and mired) or scavenging?
y Contentious hominin designation
y Subject of ridicule
y Emerge ca. 150 KYA; last until roughly 30 KYA
y Flourished in Europe (particularly western Europe) and SW Asia
Movie: ³Neanderthals on Trial´
y DNA from mother passes from generation to generation, the only change that occur are
chances of mutation that can occur
y Neanderthals are side branches but not ancestors of humans
y 30-40, 000 years ago Homo Sapiens (modern human beings)
y Separate species form homo sapiens: anatomical difference
y N: long skulls, big projecting faces, large noses, receding chins
y To different form homo sapiens
y New finds of tools (bones), art, engraving, painting on cave walls (human psyche)
y Not that different that we wouldnt integrate them into our population
y Child remains found- Lisbon
y Radio carbon dating found that the child died 25, 000 YA
y Tibia: proportionally rather short (Neanderthal)- lower leg bone, shorter than thigh
y Teeth, jaw, ear- more Neanderthal than human
y Modern humans must have mated with Neanderthals (therefore they werent that different)-
y Neanderthal was a beast- an evolutionary failure
y But after WW2: shifted from physical anatomy to behaviour
y Neanderthals evolved independently from each other
y Cave something ShabadÆ had deep sequence
y Tayacian
y She found human skull fragments in the cave
y Skull cap found in Shabad older then Neanderthals but looked more modern like a human
y Lacked a brow ridge Æ any modern features were in the eye of the beholder
y Re examined the site Æ precise measurements were used so that they could get precise
measurements of where everything was discovered
y Stone toolsÆ primitive . Older than NeanderthalsÆ looked like broken rocks
y Computer mapping of artifacts in cave Æ found a lot of artifacts parallel or perpendicular of
the cave Î not common, water could have been washing the artifacts
y Source of the water was in the back of the cave and it washed in debrisÆ ultimately the cave
wasnt an actual habitat but an illusion b/c of the water washing all the debris in
y Cave 16 Æ south west France
y Found Evidence of Neanderthal fire places Æ so well preserved and contained pure ash and
carbon with refinements of the materials that they burned ie. Grass. Wood etc
y Used smoke to preserve fish
y Organized the evidence and looked for patterns however it was deceiving Æ they used
typology and various other organizing processes