The CENIEH researcher Patricia Bello-Alonso has led a study of experimental results for the interpretation of activities carried out using stone tools made from the most representative raw material at the Olduvai Gorge sites (Tanzania), known as Naibor Soit quartzite
The journal Quaternary International has just published a paper led by Bello-Alonso, of the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), on experimental results for the traceological interpretation of activities carried out using stone tools made from the most representative raw material at the Olduvai Gorge sites (Tanzania), which is known as Naibor Soit quartzite.
This study presents the macro and micro-marks produced on the edges of experimental stone tools during the performance of different activities on a diversity of types of plants (roots, tubers, herbaceous plants, canes and wood), and bone and carcass processing, with the objective of identifying these kinds of marks in the archaeological record.
“By doing this, we have obtained an extensive reference collection of unretouched flakes made by knapping blocks of Naibor quartzite”, comments the predoctoral researcher Bello-Alonso, whose paper forms part of the traceological studies she is conducting at the Acheulean site of Thiongo Korongo (TK), around 1.3 million years old.
One of the novelties included in the work is the description and interpretation of the macro and micro-topographical changes in the surface of Naibor Soit quartzite. The results obtained have allowed criteria to distinguish the different kinds of activities and materials worked to be identified by recording various attributes such as, for instance, pitting and micro-polish.
This has made it possible to compile an interpretive base, both macroscopic and microscopic, which will undoubtedly enable and enhance functional interpretation of lithic utensils from the Acheulean site of TK and the majority of the other Olduvai Gorge sites where this same raw material was employed.
This study, financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (HAR2013-45246-C3-2-P and HAR2017-82463-C4-2-P), under the auspices of the general project undertaken by the TOPPP (The Olduvai Paleonthropology and Paleoecology Project), was conducted at the Prehistoric Technology Laboratory of the CENIEH and at the Emiliano Aguirre camp belonging to the TOPPP