Finding Fossil Footprints in the Archival Record: Case Studies from the Archaeological Site of Melka Kunture (Upper Awash, Ethiopia)

In: Journal of African Archaeology
Flavio Altamura Italian Archaeological Mission at Melka Kunture and Balchit Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome Italy
Post Doc; Department of Sciences of Antiquity, Sapienza University of Rome Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome Italy

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In this paper I discuss the potential of archival research (i.e. the reassessment of pictures and drawings) for the identification of hitherto overlooked fossil footprints. All of the most important sites of the Pleistocene sequence of Melka Kunture (Upper Awash Valley, Ethiopia) showed evidence of biogenic structures that had escaped attention during the archaeological investigations which started in the 1960s. The case studies described here show that fossil footprints at Melka Kunture occur more frequently than expected. This could encourage archaeologists to be more aware of the possible presence of bioturbated layers in other archaeological contexts and plan specific research accordingly, using Melka Kunture as a reference.

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