P314 Earlier Prehistory of Africa
Computer activity options for Oct 17
Last time you got your first glimpse of bifaces, a new tool that appears sometime before 1.5 million years ago in Africa. Bifaces are the signature tool type for a new ESA technology called the Acheulian Industry.
At Olduvai, Mary Leakey decided that if a site had at least one handaxe or cleaver in it, she would classify it as an Acheulian site. But the earliest Acheulian sites were contemporary with other sites she classified as Developed Oldowan, because of the types of tools she found in the assemblages. This raises an interesting set of questions:
Why did Developed Oldowan sites persist side by side with the Acheulian sites?
- Were they the cultural debris of different hominid species? or different cultural traditions?
- Were they just the varied debris left from different activities by the same populations of hominids?
Today we will explore some data to help answer this question
- connect to TimeWeb through the Prehistoric Puzzles site
- Compare the time periods for:
- Oldowan sites
- Developed Oldowan sites
- Acheulian sites
- Do these technological industries appear to overlap in time?
- Compare the geographical distribution of sites from these different technological industries at different points in time.
- Do you see any changing geographical patterns
- during the Oldowan?
- during the Developed Oldowan?
- during the Acheulian?
- What might account for any changes you see? (HINT: look again at maps of the topography and vegetation patterns of Africa in Lecture 1)
- Which hominids were found at Developed Oldowan sites or Acheulian sites?
- CHALLENGE QUESTION:
- Do you see any evidence from these "big picture" patterns that would support Rick Pott's "variability selection" hypothesis? (If you don't remember what this is, refer to your lecture notes from last week.)
If you finish the TimeWeb activity early (or if TimeWeb crashes...) connect to the following web page
Expedition to Olorgesailie
Explore the "About the expedition" section to answer the following questions:
- What were the main questions the researchers were trying to address about early hominid behavior at this site?
- What archaeological methods are they using that are similar to those that Mary Leakey used at Olduvai? What methods are new or different?
- No bifaces were found at the Elephas reckii butchery site at Olorgesailie. Why did the researchers call the site an Acheulian site?
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Last updated: 16 October, 2000
Copyright Jeanne Sept 2000 : do not cite without permission
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