TUKUL 1: African Prehistory

tukul1 Open air museum Tukul 2 Tukul 3 Tukul 4 panel 1 panel 2 panel 3 panel 4 panel 5 panel 6 panel 7 panel 8 panel 9 Open air museum Tukul 2 Tukul 3 Tukul 4 panel 1 panel 2 panel 3 panel 4 panel 5 panel 6 panel 7 panel 8 panel 9 Open air museum Tukul 2 Tukul 3 Tukul 4 panel 1 panel 2 panel 3 panel 4 panel 5 panel 6 panel 7 panel 8 panel 9



The site

At the site of Fejej FJ-1 (Ethiopia), earlier by 1.96 Myr, archaeologists unearthed a settlement floor indicating a short-term occupation of the site.

The hominids were established on a sand bank near a temporary river not far from the Omo. The site was preserved thanks to a layer of volcanic tuff covering several hundreds of square meters of its area.

Stratigraphy and chronology

Location of the Fejej site

The stratigraphy of FJ-1 is composed of fluvial deposits left by small temporary water courses which drained this area towards the paleo-Omo. The lithic remains and fauna found during the excavation mainly come from Level C1. Several geochronological methods were employed to establish the age of the site. The volcanic tuff was correlated with tuff G-29 of the Shungura Formation, whose age is estimated at 1.90 ± 0.03 Myr. The prehistoric frequenting of the site was hence earlier than that period.

A magnetostratigraphic study of level C1 and the FJ-1 volcanic tuff dates the site within the paleomagnetic period of Olduvai, dated between 1.96 and 1.76 Myr. Finally, the sediments of archaeological level C1 were directly dated to 1.96 ± 0.32 Myr using Electronic Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) on quartz.

Survey in the region of Fejej


Molar of Elephas recki

The fauna of site FJ-1 includes a middle sized bovid, the impala (Aepyceros shungurae), and various other Bovidae, including kudus (Tragelaphus nakuae), wildebeest (Alcelaphini), oryx (Hippotragini), kobo (Reduncini) and gazelle (Antilopini). Various species of Suidae are also attested, as are rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis – black rhino, and Ceratotherium simum – white rhino), a zebra (Equus sp.), Deinotherium (Elephas recki), a hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon ethiopicus), a large bovid (Pelorovis oldowayensis), and more rarely carnivores (Xenocyon, an ancestors of the African wild dog, Herpetes, a jackal, and mongoose, hyena, and Felidae) and primates (Paracolobus sp., Theropithecus sp., Papio sp.).


Four hominid remains have been recorded so far at Fejej FJ-1. Three teeth very similar to those of Homo habilis found at Olduvai (a right lower first molar, a right lower second molar, and a left lower third molar) were discovered at the site of FJ-1 between 1993 and 2002; a fragment of a left humerus (Paranthropus boisei?) was found in stratigraphic unit I in 1997.
During the excavation of FJ-1, various other sites were discovered. Three yielded remains of ancient hominids attributed to Australopithecus aff. anamensis, associated with fauna indicating a date between 4.2 and 5 Myr. No lithic industry was found at these sites.

Refitting of basalt core



B. Asfaw, Y. Beyene, S. Semaw, G. Suwa, T. White, G. WoldeGabriel  1991, Fejej: a new paleontological research area in Ethiopia, Journal of Human Evolution, 21, pp. 137-143.

H. de Lumley, Y. Beyene (eds) 2004, Les sites préhistoriques de la région de Fejej, sud-Omo, Ethiopie, dans leur contexte stratigraphique et paléoanthropologie, Ed. Recherche sur les civilisations, Paris.

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