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Norton, Christopher J. Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Lycett, Stephen J. Department of Anthropology, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom.
- Demarcation by the Movius Line
- Explaining the Movius Line
- Future outlook
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The earliest cultural traces currently date to ∼2.6 MYA (millions of years ago) and are found at the site of Gona in Ethiopia, East Africa. The earliest hominin behavioral evidence is in the form of worked stone, which is referred to as Oldowan technology (named by Louis and Mary Leakey from their work at Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania). The Oldowan stone tool kit (a repertoire of tools of different sizes, shapes, materials, and functions) comprises simple core and flake tools, usually from locally available raw materials and expediently made. Sometime after ∼1.6 MYA, a new stone tool form appeared in Africa: the Acheulean. (The term Acheulean is derived from the town of Saint-Acheul, in northern France, which is the original find site for these types of tools.) The Acheulean is represented by bifacially (worked on two sides) flaked hand axes, cleavers, and picks. The most emblematic artifact of the Acheulean is the so-called hand ax. These are triangular, oval, or teardrop-shaped pieces that often display properties of symmetry, with a cutting edge that extends around a large proportion of their edge (Fig. 1). One of the major behavioral changes between the Oldowan and the Acheulean is the uniformity of design often evident in the latter stone tool technology. Technologically speaking, the Acheulean is considered to be a more advanced form of lithic (stone) technology than the Oldowan. The Acheulean eventually disappears as Levallois (prepared core) technology (named after a type site near Paris, France) became more prevalent, some 250 KYA (thousands of years ago).
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