Seminar – Prehistory: new insights from zooarchaeology and lithic technology studies (EHA/CFEE)


Prehistory: new insights from zooarchaeology and lithic technology studies

The new generation of researchers


Monday 26th June, 2PM

@ Ethiopian Heritage Authority – ARCCH / 3rd floor Meeting Hall


New zooarchaeological data from the Plio-Pleistocene Shungura Formation, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia

By Blade Engda Redae (PhD, PALEVOPRIM, Poitiers University / EHA, Addis Abeba)

The Plio-Pleistocene period provides records of crucial climatic and ecosystem changes that coincides with key events during the course of human evolution, notably in eastern Africa. Among these, the production of lithic artifacts and the use of such tools to exploit animal tissues have been documented. However, the timing, processes, and behavioral implications of such events is far from being addressed. This is mainly due to the paucity of zooarcheological records as well as lack of research interest/efforts particularly on Pliocene and early Pleistocene contexts. For instance, the Shungura Formation (dated 3.6 Ma to 1 Ma), although rich in fossil fauna and artifacts, have never been investigated from a zooarcheological perspective. This research explores: 1) the paleoenvironmental context and hominid behavior surrounding the emergence of the Oldowan technology ca. 2.3 Ma, 2) biotic interaction through the Shungura sequence and the role of hominids, and 3) methodologies to over-come equifinality on bone surface modification (BSM) in the presence of hominids, crocodiles, carnivores, and fluvial abrasions. The methods employed consists of faunal composition analysis, 3D dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) as well as bone surface modification (BSM) analysis using both ‘classical’ zooarcheological methods and the application of confocal microscopy and Elliptic Fourier approach. The results demonstrated that 1) Oldowan occurrences emerged in the Shungura Formation within heterogenous environmental conditions following a relatively dry episode (based on faunal analysis and dietary reconstructions using DMTA and isotopic data); 2) DMTA show dietary differences within the same taxa at a short spatio-temporal scale; 3) Elliptic Fourier based analysis effectively discriminate linear BSM morphology between cutmarks, tooth scores, and trampling; 4) hominin exploited meat and marrow at least at 2.3 Ma (Member F), 5) possible bone tool dated to ~ 2.3 Ma (surface collection from unit F-1), and 6) intensive large mammal as we as aquatic exploitation in Member L (~1.2 Ma) have been documented.


Morpho-volumetric shifts in the Middle Stone Age (MSA) pointed tools from Gademotta and Kulkuletti site complexes (280-180 ka), Main Ethiopian Rift

By Misganaw Gebremichael Woldetsadik (PhD Student, PACEA, Bordeaux University / EHA, Addis Abeba)

Pointed tools are one of the most characteristic end-products of the MSA and highlight major transformations from the late Acheulean to the MSA, in particular in terms of production systems. They are prominent tools types in many eastern African MSA assemblages and are often used to illustrate inter-site variability and regional cultural diversity. However, our current understandings of these specific tool types are limited due to a lack of standard approaches to establish robust comparative analysis in geographically and chronologically distinct sites. This study aims at overcoming such methodological limitations and to investigate morpho-volumetric evolution of pointed tools in two securely dated early MSA sites in the Main Ethiopian Rift; at Gademotta and Kulkuletti site complexes dated between ~280 ka and 180 ka. Here, we introduced an innovative methodological approach that combined a technological analysis focused on blank types and modification patterns with classical morphometric and 3D geometric morphometric analyses. Our results display the feasibility of our methodological approach and shed light on the gradual shift in the production strategy of the pointed tools without a significant change in their final morphology.

Citer ce billet
Secrétaire Scientifique (2023, 18 juin). Seminar – Prehistory: new insights from zooarchaeology and lithic technology studies (EHA/CFEE). UN ŒIL SUR LA CORNE / AN EYE ON THE HORN. Consulté le 15 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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