Raw material use and technological advances during the Acheulean observed at Konso, Ethiopia

Yonas Beyene1, Katsuhiro Sano2, Gen Suwa3, Berhane Asfaw4, Anne Delagnes5

  1. French Center for Ethiopian Studies, Po. Box 6686 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;yonasbeyene.gm@gmail.com
  2. Katsuhiro Sano: Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050, Japan;
  3. University Museum, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan;
  4. Rift Valley Research Service, PO. Box 5717, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
  5. PACEA, CNRS/University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France;


The Konso paleoanthropological site located in the southern terminus of the Main Ethiopian Rift yielded archaeological occurrences spanning the early Pleistocene. Early Acheulean occurrences encountered from the 1.75 Ma to 0.8 Ma Konso sediments elucidate major technological steps of the Acheulean during this period. ThemaincomponentsoftheAcheuleantoolkitatKonsoarepicksandlargecutting tools which include hand-axes and cleavers. These artifacts, throughout the period represented there, are made on various types of rocks available in the surrounding area. The local geology in the area surrounding the sites provided the raw materials used for the making of the artifacts. The Precambrian / basement rocks on which mostof the Konso sediments sit and the locally abundant early Miocene basalt columnar blocks and boulders, and other volcanic rocks which outcrop in the area were abundantly used for making the various Acheulean artifacts. The selection of rock type sand forms for the making of Acheulean artifacts, and the role these played on the appearance and evolution of the early Acheulean industrial complex dated between 1.75 and 0.85Ma at Konso will bereviewed.
We have reported else where that the earliest blank predetermination technology and coevolution of large cutting tools are evidenced at Konso. Blank predetermination was seen at Konso early at the beginning of the Acheulean to progressively refine through time. This blank predetermination which was associated, progressively in time, with the refinement of hand-axe forms and appearance of the Kombewa and prepared core method at Konso by > 1.25Ma is evidenced. Blank predetermination and shaping have advanced through time, and by ~0.85-Ma Konso Acheulean hominins attained an advanced flaking technology to detach blanks that were easily used for the shaping of “three-dimensional symmetric” bifacial artifacts.

Subject Communication
Language of text English
Topics AFR.001: Recent Advances in Early Stone Age Studies in Africa, New Insights on the Oldowan and the Acheulian Stone Technology
Keywords Konso; early Acheulean; raw material; blank; Acheulean evolution;
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