TUKUL 4: Melka Kunture Archaeology

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Gombore Iγ


Discovered in 1973, the site of Gombore Iγ  is situated some fifty meters from the Awash River, on a fossil beach lying several meters above its present level. A single occupation level has been found and excavated during  1974, 1976, 1978 over slightly more than 20 m2, yielding some 2,000 artifacts.


The occupation level is part of a sequence of fluvial sand that has eroded the green clay filling the depressions formed by erosion of the substrate. Near the bottom of this sand lies the level of the Garba IV D site, dating to about 1.5 Myr. Tuff A, deposited about 1.2 Myr, lies some fifty cm above Gombore Iγ; the probable dating of the  latter is about 1.4 to1.3 Myr.


The fauna, abundant and well preserved, is represented above all by numerous teeth; remains exceeding 20 cm in size are comparatively frequent. The animals represented include hippopotamus, antelope and gazelle. It is interesting to note the frequency of remains of Equids and Sivatherium. These species suggest the proximity of water and of a dry and open savannah environment.  

Lithic industry

The pebble tools (choppers, polyhedrons, rabots, etc.), mostly on basalt, are associated with more abundant and sophisticated flake tools (side scrapers, notched and denticulated pieces, points, etc.), frequently obtained from obsidian. Together with these artifacts, there is  a good number or flaked pebbles and unretouched flakes, frequently showing traces of their utilisation. No handaxes or cleavers have been found so far. The area excavated is too small to allow the actual organization of this early Palaeolithic site to be identified. It should be noted however that the remains have a NE/SW and NW/SE orientation, and that large blocks were intentionally transported to the site.

Side scraper

Denticulated flake



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