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Thermal alterations in experimentally-flaked stone tools from Olduvai Gorge and their relevance for identification of fire in the Early Stone Age

AuthorsWithnell, Caitlin; Torre Sainz, Ignacio de la
KeywordsStone tool thermal alteration
Olduvai Gorge
Hominin-controlled fire
Scanning electron microscopy
Issue Date2019
CitationJournal of Archaeological Science 27: 101978 (2019)
AbstractThe use of fire represents a landmark development in the technological evolution of the genus Homo. However, the earliest use and control of fire is challenging to identify in the archaeological record. Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania presents some of the best preservation and volume of sites in the Oldowan and Acheulean, but has not yet shown any clear indication of the presence of fire in lower or middle Pleistocene deposits. Through the use of visual observation and optical and scanning electron microscopy, this study identified signature features of thermal alteration in experimental stone tools of quartzite, lava and chert collected from Olduvai Gorge to establish how fire-modified rocks may potentially be identified in the archaeological record using a non-destructive methodology that can be replicated in future research.
Publisher version (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X19302196
Identifiersdoi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.101978
issn: 2352-409X
Appears in Collections:(CCHS-IH) Artículos
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