3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya
May 31, 2015 10:44 AM   Subscribe

New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier (than 2.6 ma) hominin technological behaviour. We report (paywalled) the discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatiotemporal association(pdf) with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. Given the implications of the Lomekwi 3 assemblage for models aiming to converge environmental change, hominin evolution and technological origins (pdf), we propose for it the name ‘Lomekwian’, which predates (pdf) the Oldowan by 700,000 years and marks a new beginning to the known archaeological record. (abstract)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar (9 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
We're going to need an entire new History Channel just to discuss which ancient aliens taught them to make tools.

But seriously, nice post.
posted by XMLicious at 11:50 AM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by Fizz at 12:11 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow. What an exciting find. And the last paragraph in the Stony Brook press release is tantalizing:
"I have no doubt that these aren't the very first tools that hominins made," says Dr. Harmand, who in addition to her position at Stony Brook is a researcher at France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. "They show that the knappers already had an understanding of how stones can be intentionally broken, beyond what the first hominin who accidentally hit two stones together and produced a sharp flake would have had. I think there are older, even more primitive artifacts out there."
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:30 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Amazing. Great post.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:41 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

I teach 6th grade Ancient History and am SO excited to share this with my students. Thanks for posting!
posted by guster4lovers at 4:49 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Those are some pretty huge tools. How would the bigger ones have been used?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:34 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

How would the bigger ones have been used?

We won't know until they publish some use wear analysis and/or residue analysis studies like the following:

Old stones' song: use-wear experiments and analysis of the Oldowan quartz and quartzite assemblage from Kanjera South (Kenya)

Fat Residue and Use-Wear Found on Acheulian Biface and Scraper Associated with Butchered Elephant Remains at the Site of Revadim, Israel

See here, for a more popularized version of the article on Kanjera South:

The Hard Stuff of Culture: Oldowan Archaeology at Kanjera South, Kenya
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:27 AM on June 1, 2015

Two words: awe some.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:16 AM on June 1, 2015

Yes, but, what about the Obi-wan tool-assemblage?
posted by rankfreudlite at 10:02 AM on June 1, 2015

« Older Ballast   |   The other FAIL blog Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments