The Early Oldowan Stone-Tool Assemblage from Fejej FJ-1A, Ethiopia

In: Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 Area de Prehistoria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)
  • 2 IPHES, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social
  • 3 Département de Préhistoire du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle
  • 4 Département de Préhistoire du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle
  • 5 Academic and Research Vice President, University of Wolkite
  • 6 Laboratoire départemental de préhistoire du Lazaret
  • 7 Centre européen de recherches préhistoriques de Tautavel
  • 8 Laboratoire départemental de préhistoire du Lazaret
  • 9 Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, Fondation Albert 1 Prince de Monaco
  • 10 Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, Fondation Albert 1 Prince de Monaco
  • 11 UMR 6578 - Unité d’Anthropologie bioculturelle CNRS/Université de la Méditerranée/EFS, Faculté de Médecine, Sect. Nord, Univ. de la Méditerranée
  • 12 Musée de préhistoire régionale de Menton, rue Lorédan Larchey
  • 13 Département de Préhistoire du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle

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Located in the Omo-Turkana basin at the northern limit of the Koobi Fora sedimentary Formation, the Fejej region has recently proven to be a rich study area for understanding early hominin behaviour and paleoenvironmental conditions. Among the rich fossiliferous and stone artefact localities discovered so far at Fejej, the FJ-1a archeological site has yielded a faunal and lithic assemblage in primary context. The archeological level is situated within a 15 meter fluvial sequence beneath a volcanic tuff. Geochronological data from the FJ-1 sequence indicate an age of nearly 1,9 Ma for the FJ-1a artefact level. The stone industry was knapped from locally available raw materials (mainly quartz and basalt) and rocks had been carefully selected according to specific petrographical and formal criterion. Hominins mastered several distinct stone knapping methods and used more or less exhaustive reduction sequences in order to produce small flakes. The different techniques used for stone reduction are defined in this paper thanks to a series of refits of flakes onto cores. Along with the refits, an in-depth analysis of the flakes, cores and worked pebbles provides an overview of the technological capacities of hominins present at the site nearly 2 million years ago. After the Fejej FJ-1a site was abandoned the archeological materials were rapidly buried, leaving an almost undisturbed archeological level. This site appears to represent a short episode of hominin occupation.

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