New Data from Old Stones: A Technological Pilot Study of Lithics from Kokiselei 6 (1.8 mya) in West Turkana, Kenya

Author(s): Hilary Duke; Sonia Harmand-Lewis

Year: 2015


Behavioral variability is a cornerstone characteristic of Homo sapiens that evolved among earlier hominins. Archaeological lithic evidence records changes in hominin behavior and knowledge systems over time. Major changes are evident among lithic assemblages ~1.76 mya in Africa, with the emergence of large, bifacial, core tools (e.g., handaxes). This technology shows marked change from earlier assemblages, conforming to different reduction strategies. The behavioral and cognitive implications of these changes have been topics of debate for several decades. To test hypotheses about the origins and long persistence of this technology, we need comparable technological data for the periods preceding and concurrent with these assemblages. The Kokiselei complex in West Turkana preserves sites amenable to studies of Early Pleistocene (EP) lithic technological variability. Kokiselei 6 (KS6) is one of the largest, densest and best spatially preserved EP (1.8 mya) sites in Africa, with two distinct stratigraphic layers. This paper presents pilot data on lithic technology from KS6, penecontemporaneous with Kokiselei 4, a site with the oldest-dated evidence for bifacial technology (1.76 mya). Forthcoming technological analyses of lithics from Kokiselei sites will facilitate the measurement of technological variability and change during a key phase in hominin behavioral evolution.

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New Data from Old Stones: A Technological Pilot Study of Lithics from Kokiselei 6 (1.8 mya) in West Turkana, Kenya. Hilary Duke, Sonia Harmand-Lewis. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398104)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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