Oldest stone tools?

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April 21, 2015

The likelihood the oldest stone tools to date, at 3.3 MYA (million years ago), have been discovered was revealed at a meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society last week in San Francisco.

The announcement was made during a brief presentation at the meeting. It will be necessary to publish a full description in a peer reviewed journal before paleoanthropologists and archeologists will accept the claim of “oldest”.

Stone tools were found at Gona in Ethiopia in the eaRly 1990s and reliably dated to 2.6 mya. Later in the decade, specimens dated to 2.3 mya were found nearby at Hadar, the site where “Lucy”, Australopithecus afarensis, was found in 1974. Until now, the Gona and Hadar tool finds have been regarded as the oldest tools fashioned by early hominins.

The tools, flakes struck from cores, were found at Lomekwi in Kenya, west of Lake Turkana. Possibly because these are flakes and not cobbles, the scientist reporting the find proposes naming a new technology, Lomekwian, to distinguish these tools from the Olduwan.

See Early Craftsmanship on this website for a discussion of early tool making.

Read the report in the journal Science, for more details on this intriguing find.