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

Locality discovered and explored from 1975 to 1978 by J. Kalb in the middle Awash valley (Afar depression, Ethiopia). He identified here a sedimentary sequence of the Middle Pliocene (Lower Bodo Beds), the Lower Pleistocene (Middle Bodo Beds), and the Upper Pleistocene (Upper Bodo Beds) (K/Ar age between 4.5 and 0.2 Myr), with fauna from the Lower and Middle Bodo Beds, Oldowan type industry from the Middle Bodo Beds, and paleontological remains associated with Acheulean industries in the Upper Bodo Beds.


In 1976, A. Asfaw found a fragmentary human skull on the surface  of the Wehaietu formation, of the Middle Pleistocene. In 1981, J.D. Clark and T.D. White resumed investigations in this area of the east bank of the Awash, between Maka and Meadura.
They discovered archaeological and paleontological contexts referable to the Oldowan, the Developed  Oldowan, and various phases of the Acheulean, as well as a left human parietal fragment (BOD-VP-1/1) found by T. White in Middle Pleisto­cene sediments, 350 m ca. south from the place where the first skull and hominid remains of Pliocene age were discovered; a femur fragment found at Maka; and a frontal bone fragment from Belohdelie, dated respectively to 3.5-4 Myr, and over 4 Myr. The skull of Bodo (1976) has been attributed to Homo erectus or an archaic form of Homo sapiens, whereas the parietal (1981) seems to show features closer to Homo erectus.

Location of Bodo site

The Bodo skull-frontal view

The Bodo skull-lateral view

Archaeological evidences

Paleontological  and stratigraphic evidences suggests an age between 0.5 and 0.2 Myr. In spite of the frequency of Acheulean lithic artifacts in the level of the Bodo cranium, only eight of them, along with the remains of lake and terrestrial fauna, were present on the surface in the immediate vicinity of the cranium, although not directly associated with it. Seventeen stripes intentionally produced with a flint tool were observed by T. White on the face, dome, and between the orbits of this human fossil. They have been interpreted as proof of intentional stripping off of the flesh from the skull.


T.D. White 1985, Acheulean Man in Ethiopia’s Middle Awash Valley: The Implications of Cutmarks on the Bodo Cranium, Achtste Kroon - Voordracht, Haarlem, pp. 5-33. 

G.P. Rightmire 1996, The human cranium from Bodo, Ethiopia: Evidence for speciation in the Middle Pleistocene, Journal of Human Evolution, 31, pp. 21-39.

G. C. Conroy, G. W. Weber, H. Seidler, W. Recheis, D. Zur Nedden, J. H. Mariam 2000, Endocranial capacity of the Bodo cranium determined from three-dimensional computed tomography, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 113, 1, pp. 111-118.

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