Artifact from Garba III (Melka Kunture)

This is a patinated flat non-Levallois convergent artifact from Garba III made from obsidian, which is heavily patinated.

Melka Kunture is a valley site, which extends for almost 6 km in both Awash River banks, with superimposed terraces whose remains are preserved to a maximum of 100 m of sediments. Melka Kunture is located 50 km south of Addis Abeba and part of the East African Rift Valley.
At Melka Kunture there have been identified more than 70 archaeological levels so far. This sequence is only comparable with the archaeological record at Oldoway Gorge and span the times of the Oldowan, Acheulian and early MSA. The excavators suggest that there is good evidence for a general continuity in the development of technological and other cultural patterns during the whole sequence. This essential behavioural continuity seems also to correspond to the paleoanthropological evidence at Melka Kunture: human remains associated to the Oldowan at Gombore I and to the Developed Oldowan at Garba IV have been both referred to Homo erectus.

The earliest at findings at Melka Kunture come from the early Oldowan (at the sites Karre and at level B of Gombore I); with a K/Ar age near to 1,6/1,7 m.y. A “Developed Oldowan” is represented by the sequence of the site of Garba IV whith a radiometrical age between 1-5 and 1,7 m.y. The reevaluation of the Garba IV site by Gallotti showed, that unit D of Garba IV is characterized  by the emergence of a new chaîne opératoire focused on large flake/large cutting tool (LCT) production, and a large variability of small débitage modalities with systematic preparation of the striking platform and the appearance of a certain degree of predetermination , characteristic rather for an early Acheulian than for a Mode I industry.

The Jaramillo magnetostratigraphic sequence is included between the Tuff A, which covers the Oldowan, and the Tuff B, dated from 1,07 and 0,84 m.y. Some important sites, such as Garba XII and Simbiro III, which can be related either to a Late Oldowan/Early Acheulean transitional phase (Garba XII) or to an archaic Acheulean (Simbiro), are comprised in this chronological time span.
A later Acheulian is well represented in the stratigraphic sequence of Melka Kunture, by the site of Gombore II (Gombore II  1 and 3-5) dated to 0,84 m.y, exhibiting twisted handaxes, while the extremely rich Upper Acheulean at Gombore II is dated to 0.,5 and 0,4 m.y.
Garba III includes terminal Acheulean hand axes in the lower strata, maybe 250 k.a. old. Dated to 120 ka. BP, strata with a  MSA, characterized by a typical Levalloisian chaine opératoire and many retouched tools on flakes were found. Further information about this site is found here:


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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
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2 Responses to Artifact from Garba III (Melka Kunture)

  1. Imix says:

    The Oldowan of the region also produces the interesting “polyhedrons”, balls up to the size of a fist, often of basalt, with flakes detached on all sides to give them a superficially roundish appearance – which have been discussed as specific tools (some seem to have working edges, they can be held well), cores (flaked from all sides), throwing stones (good shape, with edges on all sides), even club-heads (would imply hafting – not likely). It is interesting because they are very particular artifacts that seem to elude precise determinations and are also somewhat enigmatic in later periods such as the Mousterian of Europe.

  2. Katzman says:

    similar to the tools found in Ain Hanech ?

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