History of research

Fifty years of research at Melka Kunture (1963-2013)

September 12-13, 2013

Università di Roma Sapienza
Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia

International Workshop
The Emergence of the Acheulean in East Africa


To mark the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Melka Kunture
(1963-2013)

Financially supported by
The Wenner-Gren Foundation

Organised by:

Margherita Mussi, Università di Roma Sapienza
Rosalia Gallotti, Université Bordeaux 1, UMR 5199 – PACEA‐PPP

The end of the Oldowan and the origin of the Acheulean are widely debated in Early Stone Age studies. In East Africa, there is now solid geochronological evidence pointing to the emergence of the Acheulean between 1.76 and 1.4 Ma. Despite ongoing discussions, however, the tempo and mode of technological changes are still poorly understood. New approaches to lithic collections, including analysis of lithic technology, put into question previous typological definitions. Doubts have also aroused on the hypothesis of a coexistence of Developed Oldowan and Early Acheulean. This has wide implications outside Africa, as the Acheulean is also found in Europe and Asia. The aim of the workshop is to bring together for the first time researchers currently working in this field in East Africa, in order to define the characteristics and the evolution of the Early Acheulean. The role of the East African Early Acheulean in the emergence of the Acheulean outside Africa will not be dealt into any detail. However, the outcome of the workshop will also pave the way to better understanding dispersals into other continents, and/or typo-technological convergences.

Download the program of the workshop

Registration form

Workshop venue

Speech Summaries

M. Mussi Opening Speech  
Y. Beyene, G. Suwa, B. Asfaw, S. Katoh The Characteristics and Chronology of the Earliest Acheulean at Konso, Ethiopia
R. Bonnefille Highland vegetation for Hominids at Melka Kunture, 1.7 to 0.4 Ma
D. R. Braun, J. W. K. Harris, W. Archer, D. Presnyakova Technological Decisions in an Acheulean Context: Comparisons of East and Southern African Acheulean Assemblages
I. de la Torre, L. McHenry, J. Njau, M. Pante The origins of the Acheulean at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
M. Domínguez-Rodrigo Science and science-fiction in the interpretation of Acheulian sites: taphonomic problems, behavioral models and technological hypotheses
R. Gallotti New insight on the emergence of the Acheulean at Melka Kunture and on techno-economic tendencies during the Lower Pleistocene
N. Goren-Inbar The emergence of the Acheulian: a view from the Levantine Corridor
R. Macchiarelli The ca.1.8-0.8 Ma African human fossil record: taxonomic and evolutionary issues
Raynal J.P., Gallotti R., Mohib A. First African Acheulean: a view from the North-West
J.-P. Raynal, R. Bonnefille, M. Mussi Chrono-statigraphy of the Acheulean sequence of Melka Kunture
M. Santonja, S. Rubio-Jara, J. Panera,
A. Pérez-González, D. Uribelarrea,
M. Domínguez-Rodrigo, A.Z.P. Mabulla,
E. Baquedano
The bifacial shaping in the TK Acheulean site (Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania): new excavations 50 years after Mary Leakey
S. Semaw, M. Rogers, D. Stout Early Acheulian stone assemblages ~1.7-1.6 Ma from Gona, Ethiopia
P.-J. Texier, H. Roche, S. Harmand Technological assets for the emergence of the Acheulean? Reflections on the Kokiselei 4 lithic assemblage and its place in the archaeological context of West Turkana, Kenya