African Archaeological Review

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 3–31

Cultural beginnings: Plio-Pleistocene archaeological occurrences from the Afar, Ethiopia

  • John W. K. Harris
Article

Abstract

In the time interval between approximately 2.5 million years and 1.5 million years ago and against a background of changing environmental conditions and the emergence of highly diversified populations of early hominids, the earliest archaeological occurrences have been documented from a number of localities in the Rift Valley of East Africa. These have been attributed to the Oldowan Industrial Complex. More recently, broadly comparable archaeological occurrences have been discovered from Hadar and the Middle Awash located in adjacent areas of the Afar, in Ethiopia. This paper summarizes the age, context and characteristics of these occurrences and offers preliminary comments on their contribution to greater understanding of early hominid adaptive patterns of behavior.

Résumé

Les plus anciennes découvertes archéologiques documentées proviennent de la vallée du Rift en Afrique orientale, datant d'il y a entre 1,5 et 2,5 millions d'années et se trouvant au sein d'une période d'évolution des milieux et d'apparition d'espèces trés diversifiées d'hominides. Ces découvertes ont été attribuées au complexe industriel Oldowayen. Dernièrement, des fouilles dans l'Hadar et le moyen bassin de l'Awash, situés dans des terres adjacentes à l'Afar en Ethiopie, ont mises à découvert de trouvailles généralement comparables. Le présent article résume l'âge, le contexte et les caractéristiques de ces découvertes et présente des commentaires préliminaires quant à leur rôle possible dans une comprehension approfondie de méthodes d'adaptation du comportement chez les anciens hominides.

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© Cambridge University Press 1983

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  • John W. K. Harris

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