The Archaeology of Olduvai Gorge 3 - An Exercise in Typology

Because most of the behavioral evidence for early hominids consists of stone tools, tracing behavioral trends in the manufacture and use of stone tools is of necessity an important component of the study of our unique and remarkable ancestors. One method for tracing behavioral change as reflected in stone tools is to look for differences in the composition of stone tool assemblages and industries over time. In the case of Olduvai Gorge, Mary Leakey defined three industries. She called these the 'Oldowan', 'Developed Oldowan', and 'Early Acheulean'. The Developed Oldowan was further broken down into two groups labeled Developed Oldowan A, and Developed Oldowan B.

In this exercise you have all of the pertinent information for several key sites at Olduvai, including plan maps, profiles, and catalogs illustrating the major artifact types. Essentially the same information that Mary Leakey used to define the industries at Olduvai. Your task in this exercise is to try to define each of these three industries on the basis of the data available. Using the data from these web pages, and select printed copies of key artifact types, write a short synthesis of the data indicating which sites and strata you believe to be associated with each industry, and what tool types characterize each industry. Remember that sometimes a simple change in the proportions of different tool types through time can be justified as constituting a new industry. Use your imagination and observational skills, and have fun exploring Olduvai with the Leakeys!

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