Seventh excavation campaign at the Algerian site of Tighennif

Between 22nd September and 13th October, the seventh excavation campaign took place at the archaeological site of Tighennif in western Algeria, which forms part of a research project directed by Mohamed Sahnouni, coordinator of the Archaeology Program at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), whose purpose is to document the early Acheulean of North Africa and investigate the behavior of Homo erectus in semi-arid environments.

The results of the 2019 campaign have been highly successful as it has been possible to fulfill all the objectives set and numerous faunal remains have been discovered, including hippopotamus, rhinoceros and elephant, as were stone tools such as flake cores, handaxes and retouched large flakes.

“All these findings bring out the importance of this site, which provided the oldest human remains of North Africa to date during excavations in the 1950s”, comments Sahnouni.

Among the objectives met during this campaign, the following should be highlighted: the expansion of the excavation to complete the faunal and lithic industry records; the conclusion of the stratigraphic studies; and the performance of boreholes at three different points (up to 30 m in depth) to understand the processes of formation of the site and its chronology.

Moreover, paleontological and archaeozoological studies of the faunal remains were conducted to see which species inhabited this environment more than 1 million years ago and grasp how humans made use of these animals for their subsistence.

Likewise, studies of the lithic artefacts were carried out to understand the technological processes of manufacture of these tools and determine which activities these instruments were used for by analyzing the traces of use.

The Tighennif research project, in which the members of the CENIEH Josep Parés and Joseba Rios also participate, is the outcome of collaboration between the CENIEH and the CNRPAH of Algeria, and receives financing from the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades.