Phytolithic Analysis of Site FxJj 20 AB


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Controlled fire could have significantly impacted hominin evolution, providing an adaptive release resulting in reduced teeth and gut size, and larger brains. Evidence of hominin controlled fire is sparse in the early Pleistocene archaeological record. These sites are usually in open-air contexts where taphonomic factors can obscure the identification of aspects of combustion that distinguish natural versus anthropogenic fires. Phytoliths can provide a useful proxy for identifying the use of fire in the record. Phytoliths that have been exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time can be identified through distinct morphological features. Natural grass fires burn quickly and do not reach the temperatures that are typical of hearths, while hearth fires are likely to produce burned phytoliths and contain a high proportion of wood. We focus on phyolith analysis of the 1.5 Ma site, FxJj 20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya. Samples from this locality were analyzed using a rapid extraction methodology. Preliminary results indicate a typical grass to wood ratio for an open wooded area, for most of the site. Two squares exhibited an opposite ratio, suggesting wood was brought into the site and burned. This supports other lines of evidence that indicate localized combustion at the site.

Cite this Record

Phytolithic Analysis of Site FxJj 20 AB. Amanda Stricklan, Sarah Hlubik, Rahab Kinyanjui, David Braun, Georgia Oppenheim. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449916)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: 24.082; min lat: -26.746 ; max long: 56.777; max lat: 17.309 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23794