Museum

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

 

Olorgesailie

The site

This area lies about 65 km south of Nairobi in Kenya. Discovered by L.S.B. Leakey and M.D. Leakey between 1942 and 1945, the site was later investigated by G. Ll. Isaac (1962-1965), who conducted a series of systematic excavations at about twenty sites, and is presently being investigated by a team led by Rick Potts of Smithsonian University.
Ever since several years ago, the site of Olorgesailie has been transformed into an Open Air Museum where some excavations whose materials have been left in situ can be observed.


The Open Air Museum

Stratigraphy

Olorgesailie is a small sedimentary basin at the base of the Rift Valley, with layers between the end of the Lower and Middle Pleistocene, periodically covered up by the alluvial clays of an ancient lake.

The Olorgesailie Formation is made up of 14 Members, dated between ca. 0.99 (Member 1) and 0.5 Myr (Member 14), according to recent Ar/Ar dates.

Lithic industry

In most of the explored sites, the industry, referable to a middle phase of the east African Acheulean, present handaxes and tools on flakes mostly obtained from a variety of lava available on the site, although some of the raw materials employed must have been brought from far away.


Handaxes

Fauna


Elephas

The faunal remains (mostly Bovidae, hippopotamus, and Equidae) are badly preserved and highly fragmented. No remains of hominids were found.

Site DE 89/B yielded numerous remains of young baboons, usually interpreted as evidence of standardized hunting practices.

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

B. H. Baker, J. G. Mitchell 1976, Volcanic stratigraphy and geochronology of the Kedong–Olorgesailie area and the evolution of the south Kenya rift valley, Journal of the Geological Society, London, 132, pp. 467-484.

G. Ll. Isaac 1977, Olorgesailie, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

P. Shipman, W. Bosler, K.L. Davis 1981, Butchering of Giant Geladas at an Acheulean Site, Current Anthropology, 22, pp. 257-268.

R. Potts 1989, Olorgesailie: New Excavations and Findings in Early and Middle Pleistocene Contexts, Southern Kenya Rift Valley, Journal of Human Evolution, 18, pp. 268-276.

R. Potts 1994, Variables vs. Models of Early Pleistocene Hominid Land Use, Journal of Human Evolution, 27, pp. 7-24.


© 2007-2017 Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità. Università di Roma “La Sapienza”. Terms of use