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Title: The Gona Palaeoanthropological investigations (Ethiopia), major research results (1999-2015)
Authors: Semaw, Sileshi
Rogers, Michael J.
Cáceres, Isabel
Stout, Dietrich
Levin, Naomi E.
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: CENIEH
Citation: II Meeting of African Prehistory, 2015, p. 49
Abstract: The Gona Palaeoanthroplogy study area, Afar, Ethiopia, is well known for yielding the earliest Stone artifacts to 2.6 million years ago (Ma). Continuous field and laboratory investigation since 1999 has revealed that Gona contains Mio-Pliocene fossiliferous deposits with rich fauna and hominins, all found within key time intervals in human evolution. The younger Plio-Pleistocene sediments preserve a continuous archaeological record with the earliest Oldowan, Early and Late Acheulian and Middle Stone Age assemblages which are well represented, and our studies have contributed enormously to understanding of human technological/cultural change by illuminating hominin stone tool behavior. Two decades of archaeological investigations at Gona have allowed a better understanding of the earliest stone technology, hominin raw material selectivity, and functions of these stone artifacts. The recent Gona field and laboratory research was focused on the early and late Acheulian, and the much younger deposits with MSA artifacts, all associated with archaeofauna documenting hominin induced cutmarks. The Acheulian is technologically drastically different from the Oldowan, but the ecological background and the adaptive significance of this emergent stone technology in the life of H. erectus has yet be fully investigated and appreciated. Further, Oldowan-type core/flake artifacts co-existed with the Acheulian, and the nature of the technological transition to the Acheulian is still unclear.A large number of hominin fossils have been discovered at Gona including Ardipithecus kadabba dated to>6.0 Ma (among the earlitest hominins), Ardipithecus ramidus (dated 4.5-4.3 Ma), and a number of early to late Pleistocene homo erectus fossils, which are associated with stone artifacts and fossilized fauna bearing clear evidence of hominin activity. Gona is unique for preserving important Late Miocene up to Late Pleistocene fossil hominins, and archaeological materials from the earliest up to the present. Thus, Gona is among the handful of palaeoanthropological study areas in Africa for investigating the entire range of biological and behavioral evolution of our ancestors. Here we highlight some of the major results of our investigations carried out over the past 15 years.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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