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Geochemical and physical characterization of lithic raw materials in the Olduvai Basin, Tanzania

Author(s): Charles Egeland ; Curran Fitzgerald ; Cynthia Fadem ; Ryan Byerly ; Audax Mabulla

Year: 2015

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Summary

The study of raw materials has traditionally been deeply embedded in analyses of the Early Stone Age, and the impact of source rock characteristics on early human ranging behavior and technological variation is now widely acknowledged. Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, apart from being one of the most well-known paleoanthropological sites in the world, is also home to a great diversity of potential sources for the production of stone tools. While the lithology and mineralogy of these sources have been well described, quantitative data on inter- and intra-source geochemical and physical characteristics are still rare, which makes it difficult to rigorously test models of early human home ranges and raw material selectivity. This project reports preliminary quantitative studies of variation in the geochemical (via portable x-ray fluorescence) and physical (via standard engineering tools) characteristics of primary and secondary rock sources that presumably served as important supplies of toolstone for Early Pleistocene hominins at Olduvai Gorge

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Geochemical and physical characterization of lithic raw materials in the Olduvai Basin, Tanzania. Curran Fitzgerald, Charles Egeland, Ryan Byerly, Cynthia Fadem, Audax Mabulla. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397639)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America