Week 4           Archaeology


The oldest currently known Oldowan tools have been found in Gona, Ethiopia. These are dated to 2.6 mya. As discussed in the previous unit, these tools are unlikely to be evidence of the very first use of tools. The use of tools in apes and monkeys can be used to argue in favour of tool-use as an ancestral feature of the hominin family. Oldowan stone tools are simply the oldest evidence for material culture in the archaeological record. The Oldowan expands across Africa between 2.6 and 1.8 Ma. At 1.7 Ma, the first Acheulean appears. Homo spread across Eurasia, starting at least by about 1.8 Ma.

By 1.8 mya Homo erectus (ergaster) was present in Eurasia, as evidenced by the skulls, postcrania, and Oldowan tools of this date from Dmanisi, Georgia. Artifacts and bones show up across Eurasia between 1.8 Ma to 1 Ma. All artifacts from this time period would be called Oldowan.

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