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ANT100Y1 Lecture Notes - Oldowan, Levallois Technique

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Christopher Watts

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November 11th, 2010.
Becoming Human
Cultural Chronology
Lower Paleolithic – 2.5 mya to 300 kya
-H. habilis (Oldowan); H. erectus (Acheulian)
Middle Paleolithic – 300 kya to 40,000 ya
-Neanderthals (Mousterian)
Upper Paleolithic – 40,000 ya – 14,000 ya
-Modern Humans (Aurignacian)
Early Tools Use: The Oldowan
Earliest (?) ‘human’ technology
-Beginning of the Lower Paleolithic Period
Simple tools; East Africa (Olduvai Gorge), ca. 2.5 mya
-Coincides with the emergence of H. habilis
Consists of large pebble choppers with flakes removed at one end
-Flakes could have been used for a variety of tasks
Homo erectuc/ergaster
Transition to more advanced hominin forms, i.e., H. erectus and H. ergaster ca. 1.9 mya
First to use fire
-ca. 1.5 mya, swartkrans (South Africa)
First to leave Africa
-Adapted to a number of environments, e.g. Europe; SE Africa by 1.8 mya
The Acheulian Tradition
Oldowan technology gives way to Acheulian by 1.5 mya; lasts until ca. 60,000 BP
Africa, Western Europe and SW Asia
Choppers, flake tools, cleavers and hand axes
-Regional variability
Acheulian Hand Axe
Prepared core technology
-Evidence of skill (knapping techniques)
Symmetry around long axis
-Cognitive development (mental templates)?
Bifacially worked, multipurpose tools
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