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Title: The Early Acheulian from Gona, Ethopia: implications for Homo erectus technological transitions and diet
Authors: Semaw, Sileshi
Rogers, Michael J.
Cáceres, Isabel
Leiss, Amanda C.
Stout, Dietrich
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Georgian National Museum
Citation: 100+25 years of Homo erectus: Dmanisi and beyond. International Senckenberg Conference, 2016, p. 125
Abstract: Investigations in East Africa, including at Konso, Kokiselei, and Olduvai have pushed the age of the earliest Acheulian to ~1.75-1.7 Ma. The Paleolithic record at Gona, Ethiopia, spanning the past 2.6 million years, is providing an additional opportunity for investigating the emergence of the Acheulian. Over the past decade, we have been conducting focused investigations in deposits estimated ~ 2.0-1.5 Ma in order to explore the timing and context of the technological transition to the Acheulian. Several sites with Oldowan artifacts estimated to ~1.9-1.6 Ma, also containing large size specimens similar to Acheulian, have been documented. Further, a number of new localities ~ 1.5 Ma and older have been investigated. At Gona, the makers of the earliest Acheulian were engaged in a different strategy of stone raw material selectivity compared with that inferred for the Oldowan. This selectivity seems based mainly on the ability to harvest large and heavy exploitable flakes, but will also target raw materials with good flaking quality. Our investigations also show more significant exploitation of animal carcasses with the earlier Oldowan than with the Acheulian. The recovery of more abundant cutmarked bones with Oldowan localities, and the rarity of large animal fossils with evidence of bone modifications at Early Acheulian sites appear to be notable, especially in light of the long-standing assumption that handaxes were used, at least in part, for animal butchery. Further, Oldowan core/flakes co-existed with the Acheulian, and the nature of the technological transition has yet to be fully investigated. The discovery of the earliest Homo erectus/ergaster at Dmanisi in Georgia with Oldowan artifacts has demonstrated that the Acheulian played little adaptive role in the expansion of early Homo out of Africa, which is still intriguing. The Acheulian stone technology is significantly different from the preceding Oldowan, but the ecological background and its adaptive significance in the life of early H. erectus is unclear and needs to be fully understood.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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