Earliest known North African artifacts


December 16, 2018

Plio-Pleistocene artifacts have been found in Algeria, according to a paper in the journal Science this week. Heretofore, late Pliocene-early Pleistocene stone tools were known from East Africa exclusively.  In a paper headed “1.9-million- and 2.4-million-year-old artifacts and stone tool–cutmarked bones from Ain Boucherit, Algeria”, Sahnouni et, al. disclose their findings.

A concise summery of their findings reads:
Evidence for the earliest stone tools produced by human ancestors (from ?2.6 million years ago) has hitherto come from East Africa. Sahnouni et al. report the discovery of Oldowan stone artifacts and associated cutmarks on fossil bones excavated in Algeria, with the earliest dated to 2.4 million years ago. Thus, hominins inhabited the Mediterranean fringe in North Africa earlier than commonly believed. Furthermore, either stone tool manufacture and use dispersed early from East Africa or stone tool manufacture and use originated in both North and East Africa.