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

Researches  carried out since 1987 by the West Turkana Archaeological Project in the Plio-Pleistocene sediments of the Nachukui Formation (West Turkana, Kenya), 700 m thick, dated between 4.0 and 0.7 Myr allowed to identify more than 25 archaeological sites whose age is comprised between 2.35 and 0.7 Myr. Extensive excavations have been opened in two of them, Lokalelei 1 (GaJh5) in 1987 and 1991 and Lokalelei 2C (LA2C) during 1997, dated to 2.3-2.4 Myr. 466 artifacts have been recovered from Lokalelei 1; they are represented by about 100 choppers-cores, flakes and fragments in lava and by two fragmentary bones with possible intentional cut-marks. This lithic complex named “Industry or facies Nachukui” can be compared with the material from Chavaillon excavations in the Shungura Formation of the Omo Valley.

Location of Lokalelei 2C

Lokalelei 2C

With regard to early hominid technological development, the evidence provided by the data from Lokalelei 2C questions both the prior assumption of a continuous and linear evolutionary trend in lithic production and the idea that it long remained static. The level of elaboration evinced by the lithic assemblage is quite unexpected in view of its age, and seemingly more advanced that what can be surmised for other Late Pliocene East African sites, including the nearby site of Lokalelei 1.

Excavations at Lokalaeei 2C

Analysis relies mainly on the dynamic reconstruction of entire cobble reduction sequences from particularly informative refitting groups.

Example of core refitting

The Lokalelei 2C knappers had already internalised the notion of planning and foresight in raw material procurement and management. Beyond simple mastery of the basic technical constraints peculiar to stone knapping, they conducted a highly controlled debitage of flakes following constant technical rules and resulting in high productivity.

The data suggest that early hominids displayed distinct technical competencies and techno-economic patterns of behaviour, thus pointing to an intrasite complexity and intersite diversity which are not accounted for by the existing chrono-cultural classifications.



A. Delagnes, H. Roche 2005, Late Pliocene hominid knapping skills: the case of Lokalalei 2C, Journal of Human Evolution, 49, pp. 499-514.

M. Kibunjia 1994, Pliocene archaeological occurences in the Lake Turkana basin, Journal of Human Evolution, 27, pp. 159-171.

H. Roche 1996, Remarques sur les plus anciennes industries en Afrique et en Europe, in F. Facchini (ed) The First Humans and their cultural manifestations, XIII UISPP, Colloquium VIII, Forlì, pp. 55-63.

H. Roche, A. Delagnes, J.-P. Brugal, C. Feibel, M. Kibunjia, V. Mourre, P.-J. Texier 1999, Early hominid stone tool production and technical skill 2,34 Myr ago in West Turkana, Kenya, Nature 399, pp. 57- 60.

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