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A Technological Analysis of the Oldowan and Developed Oldowan Assemblages from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

Proffitt, TSH; (2016) A Technological Analysis of the Oldowan and Developed Oldowan Assemblages from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study investigates the validity of Mary Leakey’s original distinction between the Classic Oldowan and the Developed Oldowan A (DOA) at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Until now, the majority of academic research into the nature of the Developed Oldowan has concentrated on the Developed Oldowan B (DOB) / Acheulean distinction, with little attention paid to the Oldowan / DOA differentiation. In addition most studies rely heavily either on Leakey’s original data and / or typological classification system. Recent modern technological studies, based on first hand reanalyses of the archaeological material have brought the issue of the Developed Oldowan at Olduvai to the forefront, with some arguing for the removal of both the DOA and B and their inclusion with the Classic Oldowan and Acheulean. These studies, however, have not specifically concentrated on the DOA, and often make recommendations without full analyses of all assemblages. Through first-hand re-analyses of all DOA assemblages and a substantial sample of Oldowan assemblages from Olduvai Gorge, this study aims to address the validity of Leakey’s original distinction between the non-handaxe-bearing assemblages of Bed I and Lower / Middle Bed II of Olduvai, as well as the issue of Oldowan technical variation at Olduvai Gorge. In addition a detailed experimental programme aims to elucidate analytical issues related to the study of Olduvai lithics, these include the effect of raw material on the accuracy of analyses and the ability to identify varying knapper skill levels. The results of these studies indicate that Olduvai raw material has a significant effect on analyst accuracy, inter-analyst variation, and the identification of knapper skill levels. Furthermore, the comparative analyses show few differences between the lithic assemblages of Bed I and Lower / Middle Bed II; however, an increase in reduction intensity in Bed II is identified, resulting in the recommendation for removal of the term DOA as a separate techno-culture.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: A Technological Analysis of the Oldowan and Developed Oldowan Assemblages from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1482073
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