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A theoretical construct. It was proposed that certain jagged animal bones and horns represent pre-lithic artifacts with which Australopithecus murdered and cannibalized his fellow Australopithecines.
Oldowan Tool Tradition
The Oldowan tool tradition represents the first manufacture of any tool noted in the archaeological record.
A prehistoric era distinguished by the development of the first stone tools, and covers roughly 99% of human technological history. It extends from the introduction of stone tools by hominids such as Homo habilis 2.5 or 2.6 million years ago, to the introduction of agriculture and the end of the Pleistocene around 12,000 BP.
- Survey, excavation , analysis. including documentation and explanation. Tools used in a survey are : GIS, GPS, Remote sensing, geophysical survey and aerial photography.
- Archaeological Techniques:
- -Surface/Field/General/Directional Surveys
- -Airborne/Geophysical Remote Sensing
- - Documentation and Explanation
The exposure, processing, and recording of archaeological remains.
A way to collect information about the location, distribution, and organization of past human cultures across a large area. Surveys can be a practical way to decide whether or not to carry out an excavation (as a way of recording the basic details of a possible site) and may also be ends in themselves, as they produce important information about past human activities in a regional context.
Change (invention, diffusion, and acculturation)
The invention of new ideas, based off of pre-existing models, and the time it takes for them to spread out across different cultures. As these cultures meet, they may exchange cultural features that result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first hand contact; or the original cultural patterns of either or both groups may be altered, but the groups remain distinct.
The evolutionary process whereby a population becomes better suited to its habitat.
Studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images.
A form of archaeological theory. Came about through the first efforts to explain the past as well as describe it. Its primary goal was describing the "when" and "where" of past cultures, based on the material record.
Refers to similar artifacts and features from a specific time frame and within a consistent geographical area.
The shaping of flint, chert, obsidian or other fracture stones through the process of lithic reduction to manufacture stone tools.
Also known as "field study" or "case report." Ethnography is the process of collecting data through participant observation, interviews, and questionnaires of nearby locals.
It refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it.
The branch of stratigraphy which focuses on correlating and assigning relative ages of rock strata by using the fossils contained within them. Usually the aim is correlation, demonstrating that a particular horizon in one geological section represents the same period of time as another horizon at some other section. The fossils are useful because sediments of the same age can look completely different because of local variations in the sedimentary environment.
The period of time it takes for a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half.
A process of reasoning whereby two entities that share some similarities are assumed to share many others, culturally.
In archaeology, the exact location of a site, artifact, or other archaeological find in time and space.
A human-manufactured or modified object.
The relationship between an artifact and other archaeological finds at a site level, or another artifact, structure, or feature in the site.
The study of the human past using the surviving material remains of human behavior.
A radiometric method that dates geological strata and early archaeological sites from volcanic rocks. Used to date prehistory from the earliest times up to about 100,000 years ago.
Human history before the advent of written records.
An artifact such as a storage pit or a posthole that cannot be removed from a site; normally it is only recorded.
The study of the past using written records.
A mammal order that includes tree-living placental mammals.
The taxonomic suborder of apes, humans, and monkeys.
The taxonomic suborder that includes lemurs, tarsiers, and other so-called premonkeys.
The family of nonhuman primates closest to humans.
Hominin / Homininae
Primates of the family Homininae, which includes modern humans, earlier human subspecies, and their direct ancestors.
The knowledge or beliefs developed by human societies as part of their cultural adaptation.
Tree-ring dating. Can be used to date from present up to 8,000 B.C. Uses a sequence of growth rings. I also used to calibrate radiocarbon dating>
A radiometric dating method based on the decay rates of radiocarbon isotopes. It is highly effective for dating developments over the past 40,000 years.
Observation of the superimposed layers in an archaeological site.
The relationship between two objects, structures, or layers in the vertical plane.
- Name Translation: Hominin of the Sahel, of Chad.
- Nickname: Toumai "Hope of life"
- Date: Questionable dating to 6-7 MYA
- Found by: Michel Brunet and Patrick Vignaud.
- Location: Chad, Central Africa
- A possible ancestor to both hominin or apes; to date, it is uncertain which it is. Computer reconstructions show that it was possibly bipedal.
- Name Translation: Ardi = Ground/Floor, Pithecus = Ape, Ramid = Root
- Date: 4.5 MYA
- Found by: Tim White
- Location: Awash, Ethiopia
- Able to stand upright. It's teeth and skull suggest it is more closly related to chimpanzees. Apparently lived in wooded terrain. This suggests that it may have some relation to the first hominins to diverge from the African apes.
- Name Translation: Austra = Southern, Pithercus = Ape
- Nickname: "Lucy" is probably the most well known afarensis. Named after the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
- Date: 3.18 MYA
- Found by: Maurice Taieb and Donal Johanson.
- Location: Hadar, Ethiopia
- Afarensis was bipedal from the waist down and arboreal in the upper body. No bigger than 5 feet, they are thought to be as strong as chimpanzees.
- Date: 3MYA
- Found by: Raymond Dart
- Location: South Africa
- Part of the gracile australopithecines, africanus was slenderly built, or gracile, and was thought to have been a direct ancestor of modern humans. Fossil remains indicate that africanus was significantly more like modern humans, with a more human-like cranium permitting a larger brain and more humanoid facial features.
- Date: Questionably dates back to about 6 MYA.
- Found by: Brigitte Senut and Martin Pickford
- Location: Tungen Hills, Kenya
- Very little is known about tugenensis. May have been the earliest bipedal hominin.
- Name Translation: "handy man"
- Date: 2.3 - 1.4 MYA
- Found by: Mary and Louis Leakey
- Location: Tanzania, East Africa
- Used Olduwan tools for daily use. A dramatic rise in the consumption of meat is recorded in archaeological records, but whether they were hunters or scavengers is still debated today. Because it had a larger brain, it required the consumption of more energy and a higher-quality diet.
Homo sapiens sapiens
- Date: 400kya - 90kya
- Anatomically similar to modern day humans, sapiens displayed a higher level of intelligence. Speculated to have been able to recognize changes in season, the geography of their land, and the timing of game and bird migrations. It is thought that sapiens lived in large groups for survival - both for protection and an increased chance of finding food.
An American paleoanthropologist. He is known for the discovery of the skeleton of the female hominid australopithecine known as "Lucy", in the Afar Triangle region of Hadar, Ethiopia.
An Australian anatomist and anthropologist. He is best known for his discovery in 1924 of a fossil (first ever found) of Australopithecus africanus (extinct hominid closely related to humans) at Taung in Northwestern South Africa. He also propossed the Osteodontokeratic theory.
An American paleoanthropologist. He is most famous for his work on "Lucy" as Australopithecus afarensis.
Mary and Louis Leakey
A British archaeologist and anthropologist, who discovered a noted robust Australopithecine called Zinjanthropus at Olduvai. For much of her career she worked together with her husband, Louis Leakey, in Olduvai Gorge, uncovering the tools and fossils of ancient hominines. She developed a system for classifying the stone tools found at Olduvai. She also discovered the Laetoli footprints.
An experimental archaeologist and expert flintknapper.
Establishes an extremely well documented and correlated sequence of geological, paleological, archaeological, and hominid remains over the last two million years. More than 150 extinct species have been recognized at this site, and holds the earliest hominid site. There are three broadly defined sites at olduvai: butchering localities, quarry localities, and multipurpose or campsite localities.
One ore few large mammals associated with archaeological traces.
Areas where hominids obtained stone and initially fashioned stone tools.
Multipurpose (campsite) Localities
Where hominids carried out daily activity.