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


Porc Epic

The site

This cave is located near Dire Dawa and was discovered in 1929 by P. Teilhard de Chardin and H. de Monfreid. It was excavated in 1933 and, more recently, following an analysis of the lithic industries carried out in 1971 by C. Perlès, the work was resumed in 1974 by a team of American researchers under the direction of J. Desmond Clark. In a deposit less than 2 m thick, there are levels referable to the Middle and the Late Stone Age of East Africa, dated between about 50,000 and 15,000 years ago. No faunal remains have been identified due to their bad state of preservation.

Lithic industry

The Middle Stone Age lithic industry is characterized by points, often small sized, backed blades and knives, frequently obtained with the Levallois flaking technique.

The presence of red ochre has also been noted. The human occupation of the cave during the Late Stone Age is also indicated by the presence of geometric microliths which are associated in the upper levels with coarse pottery.

Theillard de Chardin


A human mandible was recovered in the levels attributed to the Middle Stone Age. The study, carried out by the French anthropologist H. V. Vallois, indicated some archaic features, such as for example the absence of a chin and the robustness of the teeth.

Rock art

About sixty painted human and animal schematic figures are also present in the cave. They have been stylistically dated to a final phase of the Harar rock art.

Rock paintings

Rock paintings


H. Breuil 1934, Peintures rupestres préhistoriques du Harar, Abyssine, L’Anthropologie, 54, pp. 473-483.

H. Breuil, P. Teilhard de Chardin, P. Wernert 1951, Le Paléolithique du Harar, L’Anthropologie, 55, pp. 219-230.

H. V. Vallois 1951, La mandibule humaine fossile de la Grotte du Porc-Épic près de Diré-Daoua (Abyssinie), L’Anthropologie, 55, pp. 231-238.

J. D. Clark, K. D. Williamson, J. M. Michels, C. A. Marean 1984, A Middle Stone Age occupation site at Porc Epic cave, Dire Dawa (east-central Ethiopia), The African Archaeological Review, 2, pp. 37-71.

D. Pleurdeau 2003, Le Middle Stone Age de la grotte du Porc-Épic (Dire Dawa,  Éthiopie) : gestion des matières premières et comportements techniques, L’Anthropologie, 107, pp. 15-48.

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