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

 

Omo

The site

Starting in 1970, archaeological excavations of a limited extension were carried out in the Shungura locality within the frame of the Omo International Mission: the sites of Omo 71, Omo 57 and Omo 123 were excavated by J. Chavaillon, and those of FtJi1, FtJi2, and FtJi5 by H.V. and J.P.S. Merrick. The materials recovered are referred to a chronological period preceding the Oldowan of Bed I at Olduvai.



The site

Stratigraphy

In the Lower Omo Valley, at the Shungura locality, important volcanic formations (tuffs and tephra) have been identified.

They reach sometimes a thickness of 1000 m and their age is between 3.4 and 1.0 Myr.

The same formations were subject to tectonics fault and this huge mass of deposits dipped between 11° and 25° westward. Faunal and hominid remains are quite frequent.


Omo 123

The sites


0mo 71
The discovery of in situ lithic industries regards three very close time periods. The oldest site, Omo 71, is located above Tuff E (about 2.2 Myr). This is a ferruginous lacustrine beach level, with some artifacts including one chopping tool and some fragmentary bone remains. The sites of Omo 84, Omo 57 and the more recent and rich ones, such as Omo 123, FtJi1, FtJi2, and FtJi5, correspond to small channels with fluvial filling or to alluvial plain with silt sediments (member F, about 2.0 Myr). In the site of Omo 71, some remains of hippopotamus, elephant, Suids, Giraffa gracilis and a fish were associated to the lithic industry.
In the sites at the base of member F, the faunal remains were represented only by rare and small fragments of bones. No hominid remains were found in the archaeological sites; however, Australopithecus remains were recovered in the surroundings deposits dating to the same period. At the oldest site Omo 71, the characteristic artifact is a bifacial core-chopper made of quartz (60 mm), whose cutting edge presents clear evidence of utilisation. In the other more recent sites, very small cores, fragments and flakes, made from quartz pebbles, have been recovered. A fragmentary blade, whose pieces can be refitted, and very rare bladelets with trihedral cross-section are also present. The flakes sometimes show traces of utilisation and they have been also exceptionally retouched (Omo 71).


Quartz small flakes

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

J. Chavaillon 1976, Evidence for the technical practices of Early Pleistocene Hominids, in  Y. Coppens, F.C. Howell, G. Ll. Isaac, R.E.F. Leakey (eds) “Earliest Man and Environments in the Lake Rudolf Basin”, University of Chicago Press, pp. 565-573.

De la Torre  I., 2004, Omo Revisited. Evaluating the Technological Skills of Pliocene Hominids, Current Anthropology, 45 (4), pp. 439-465

V. H. Merrick, J.P.S. Merrick 1976, Archaeological occurrence of Earlier Pleistocene Age from the Shungura Formation, in  Y. Coppens, F.C. Howell, G. Ll. Isaac, R.E.F. Leakey (eds) “Earliest Man and Environments in the Lake Rudolf Basin”, University of Chicago Press, pp. 574-584.

J. de Heinzelin 1983, The Omo Group, Ann. Mus. Roy. Afr. Centr. Terv. Belg. Sc. Geol., 85,  pp. 1-365.

C. S. Feibel, F. H. Brown, I. McDougall 1989, Stratigraphic context of fossil hominids from Omo Group deposits: Northern Turkana basin, Kenya and Ethiopia, Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 78, pp. 595-622.

G. Suwa, T. D. White, F.C. Howell 1996, Mandibular postcanine dentition from the Shungura Formation, Ethiopia: Crown morphology, taxonomic allocation, and Plio-Pleistocene hominid evolution, Am. M. Phys. Anthropol., 101, pp. 247-282. 


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