Refitting of layers of a core from which a biface was knapped

English translation:

“Here are the "guts of a biface”. This is in the Museum of Archaeology in Valencia. I imagine that the author is Juan Antonio Marín. It’s no small work to create a refitting".

En español:

“Así son "las tripas de un bifaz”. Esto está en el Museo Arqueológico de Valencia. Imagino que el autor es Juan Antonio Marín. En fin, menudo curro para realizar el remontaje".

(Source: Arqueologia Paleorama en Red)

Rift Valleys Acheulian Sites

(image) The Western Rift Valley in January licensed under Creative Commons ( The Rift Valleys of East Africa extend in a “Y” shape southward from the Red Sea in the north, through Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to Zambia and Mozambique. Overall, the system is about 6,000 kilometers long. What people might assume to be a single rift somewhere in East Africa is really a series of distinct rift basins which are all related and produce the distinctive geology and topography of East Africa.  The largest lakes include the Tanganyika, Victoria, Turkana, Malawi,………. Read More

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A MATLAB based orientation analysis of Acheulean handaxe accumulations in Olorgesailie and Kariandusi, Kenya Rift

“The Pleistocene archeological record in East Africa has revealed unusual accumulations of Acheulean handaxes at prehistoric sites. In particular, there has been intensive debate concerning whether the artifact accumulation at the Middle Pleistocene Olorgesailie (Southern Kenya Rift) and Kariandusi (Central Kenya Rift) sites were a result of fluvial reworking or of in situ deposition by hominids. We used a two-step approach to test the hypothesis of fluvial reworking. Firstly, the behavior of handaxes in water currents was investigated in a current flume and the flow threshold required to reorientate the handaxes was determined. The results of these experiments suggested that, in relatively high energy and non-steady flow conditions, handaxes will reorientate themselves perpendicular to the current direction. Secondly, an automated image analysis routine was developed and applied to archeological plans from three Acheulean sites, two at Olorgesailie and one at Kariandusi, in order to determine the orientations of the handaxes. A Rayleigh test was then applied to the orientation data to test for a preferred orientation. The results revealed that the handaxes at the Upper Kariandusi Site and the Olorgesailie Main Site Mid Trench had a preferential orientation, suggesting reworking by a paleocurrent. The handaxes from the Olorgesailie Main Site H/6A, however, appeared to be randomly oriented and in situ deposition by the producers therefore remains a possibility” (read more).

(Source: Journal of Human Evolution, in press 2013)

An exciting discovery

The discovery of Acheulian tools no younger than one million years, and possibly as old as 1.5 million years, in Tamil Nadu overturns the current thinking that hominins or early humans lived in India merely 0.6 million to 0.5 million years ago. The exciting finds are from a site at Attirampakkam, in the Kortallayar River basin, about 60 km northwest of Chennai. Previous age estimates indicated that hominins who moved out of Africa dispersed across Asia and Europe around the same time. This was inconsistent with the widely accepted current theories of early human migration from Africa to Asia. By dating the artifacts as at least one million years old, a paper published online in Science (“Early Pleistocene presence of Acheulian hominins in South India” by Shanti Pappu et al., March 25, 2011) comes close to placing them in sync with the migration of early humans from Africa to the rest of the world through Asia. Read more.


Mount Carmel (Israel) Lithic Artefacts

  • Top: Convergent scraper from Mugharet et-Tabun, Israel (Upper Acheulo-Mousterian layer; ca. 200-275 kya).
  • Centre right: Acheulean handaxe from Mugharet et-Tabun, Israel (Upper Acheulean layer; ca. 300-400 kya).
  • Centre left: Blade core from Mugharet el-Wad, Israel (Upper Paleolithic layers; ca. 30-40 kya).
  • Bottom: Backed knife from Mugharet es-Skhul (Lower Mousterian layer; ca. 100-130 kya).

(Source: Wesleyan Archaeology and Anthropology Collections)