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

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International Workshop The Emergence of the Acheulean in East Africa

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

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

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

Raynal J.P., Bonnefille R., Mussi M.

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