TUKUL 4: Melka Kunture Archaeology

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Garba I


The site was discovered by G. Bailloud in 1963. An extensive excavation was carried out from 1965 to 1975. The main level B can be referred to the Upper Acheulean.

Cleavers and handaxes

The site

Stratigraphy and chronology

The site of Garba I is part of a fluvial formation made up of sand, gravel and pebbles (level B) and covered by gray clay. Underneath these, consolidated sand  alternating with fluvial levels with crossed stratigraphy,  cover a level of volcanic ash mixed with clay (Tuff D). The age of the archaeological level is probably between 600,000 and 400,000 years.


The faunal remains are badly preserved and the identifiable pieces are rare, although many fragments and splinters are associated with the lithic artifacts. Hippopotamus amphibius is present, together with some Suids, Bovids, Alcelaphini (Damaliscus sp.). One Bovid species is represented by Connochaetes taurinus. The remains of Equids are rare, while rodents are very abundant. The landscape was probably similar to that of a comparatively arid savannah.

Lithic industry

One of the characteristic features of this industry is the abundance of handaxes and cleavers. Most of the artifacts are cut on trachybasalt, but some are also on obsidian. These pieces show sophisticated technology: the handaxes, often on flake, have an oval shape; the cleavers have a perpendicular or slightly oblique cutting edge. Tools on pebbles (choppers and polyhedrons) are numerous, but of poor manufacture. There are also some large scrapers on pebble (rabots) and polyhedric spheroids similar to modern bolas. The flakes are abundant and some have been transformed into side-scrapers, end-scrapers, borers, but also notched and denticulated tools.




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