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Title: Evidence of stone tools and cutmarked bones from Ain Boucherit Early Pleistocene deposits (2.2-1.95 Ma), Algeria
Authors: Sahnouni, Mohamed
Duval, Mathieu
Parés, Josep María
Made, Jan van der
Pérez-González, Alfredo
Abdessadok, Salah
Harichane, Zoheir
Cáceres, Isabel
Derradji, Abdelkader
Kandi, Nadia
Medig, Mohamed
Boulaghraief, Kamel
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: American Association of Physical Anthropologists
Citation: Paleoanthropology Society Annual Meeting, 2016, A27
Abstract: The Aïn Hanech research area (Algeria) is significant for documenting the oldest currently known archaeological occurrences in North Africa, estimated to 1.8–1.7 Ma. Recent fieldwork in the nearby deposits at Aïn Boucherit has resulted in the discovery of even older stone tools and cut-marked bones, spanning from 2.2 to 1.95 Ma. The Aïn Boucherit occurrences are found in two stratigraphic units: Unit P/Q and Unit R. Unit P/Q, which is the fossil bearing stratum from which both Pomel and Arambourg collected fossil bones, is stratigraphically located 13m below the 1.8–1.7 Ma Ain Hanech and El-Kherba Oldowan bearing deposits. In addition to a diverse savanna fauna, within this same unit, we also collected in situ Mode I stone artifacts and cut-marked bones. Excavations in Unit R, located 7m above the Ain Boucherit fossiliferous stratum (Unit P/Q) and 6m below the Ain Hanech and El-Kherba Oldowan localities (Unit T), yielded animal fossils associated with a Mode I lithic assemblage contained in a floodplain context. The fauna preserves several cut-marked and hammerstone-percussed bones. The age of the Aïn Boucherit archaeological occurrences is constrained by means of magnetostratigraphy, mammalian biochronology, and Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) dating methods. The magnetostratigraphic study documents both normal and reversed polarities, indicating that Unit P/Q dates to the Matuyama Reverse Chron and Unit R to the onset of the Olduvai Normal Subchron. Based on biochronological evidence, the age of Aïn Boucherit is estimated to ~2.2 Ma for Unit P/Q and ~1.95 Ma for Unit R. Furthermore, ESR dating results on optically bleached quartz grains extracted from sediments are consistent with the paleomagnetic and biochronological age estimates. Thus, Aïn Boucherit preserves the oldest archaeological occurrences outside of the East African Rift, showing that ancestral hominins inhabited the Mediterranean fringe much earlier than previously thought.
ISSN: 1545-0031
DOI: 10.4207/PA.2016.ABS14
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Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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