• Fri. Mar 31st, 2023

Obsidian handaxe-making workshop from 1.2 million years ago discovered in Ethiopia


Jan 31, 2023

A crew of researchers affiliated with a number of establishments in Spain, working with two colleagues from France and one other from Germany has found an Obsidian handaxe-making workshop from 1.2 million years in the past within the Awash valley in Ethiopia. Of their paper printed within the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, the group describes the place the handaxes have been discovered, their situation and their age.

An obsidian handaxe, made by an unknown hominid 1.2 million years in the past. © Margherita Mussi

The Stone Age lasted from roughly 2.6 million years in the past, to roughly 3,300 BCE, when the Bronze Age started. Historians usually break the period down into the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic intervals. Prior analysis has proven that “knapping workshops” appeared someday through the Center Pleistocene, in Europe—roughly 774,000 to 129,000 years in the past.

Such workshops developed as tool-making advanced right into a ability. People who developed such expertise labored collectively in workshops to crank out sufficient of no matter instruments have been wanted by these within the common space. One such instrument was the handaxe, which could possibly be used for chopping or as a weapon.

The extensive accumulations of obsidian artefacts in level C. a,b, General view of the level and detail of artefact density along the MS cliff (a) and inset (b). c,d, General view (c) and detail (d) of the artefact concentration (mainly handaxes) in the test pit of 2004.
The in depth accumulations of obsidian artefacts in degree C. a,b, Common view of the extent and element of artefact density alongside the MS cliff (a) and inset (b). c,d, Common view (c) and element (d) of the artefact focus (primarily handaxes) within the take a look at pit of 2004. © Nature Ecology & Evolution (2023).

Handaxes have been made by chipping bits off of a stone to make a pointy edge. They weren’t connected to something; they have been merely held within the hand when in use. The stones used have been usually flint or, in latter instances, obsidian—a kind of volcanic glass. Obsidian, even in fashionable instances, is taken into account a tough materials to work with as a result of it’s so tough on the arms. On this new effort the researchers have discovered proof of an obsidian handaxe knapping workshop established far sooner than one has ever been seen earlier than.

The researchers have been working on the Melka Kunture dig web site after they discovered a handaxe buried in a layer of sediment. They quickly discovered extra. They discovered 578 in all, and all however three have been made from obsidian. Courting of the fabric across the axes confirmed them to be from roughly 1.2 million years in the past.

Examine of the axes confirmed all of them to have been crafted in like method, indicating that the researchers had discovered an historic knapping workshop. The discover marks the oldest identified instance of such a workshop, and the primary of its sort not in Europe. The researchers observe that the work was executed so way back that they aren’t even capable of determine the hominids that made them.

The research was printed within the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution (2023). Learn the original article.

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