Dating stone tools
The name Acheulean comes from a site called St Acheul in France, where Acheulean handaxes were first recognised in the early 1800s, long before Charles Darwin articulated his theory of evolution.
The finds created controversy at the time, with many refusing to believe they were made by human ancestors.
By comparison with later industries, the Oldowan is informal, variable and represents the simplest form of stone tool technology.
Sometimes, Oldowan tools were creating by simply breaking pebbles.
Rocks that weren’t fashioned into stone tools could also have been by hominids for pounding or crushing seeds and for throwing, for example.
Cores – off which the flakes were chipped for tools – included those shaped as choppers (flaked along an edge); discoids (disk-shaped) and polyhedrons (multi-faceted).Tool Types: The Oldowan industry was the earliest of all stone tool technologies, emerging just after 2.6-million years ago, during the Earlier Stone Age. Cores (the rocks off which the flakes are chipped) included those shaped as choppers (flaked along an edge), discoids (flaked to a disk-shape) and polyhedrons (cores with many facets). Protobifaces from this time were rare core-tools that had been shaped to a point Age: Approximately 2.6-million years ago to 1.7-million years ago Raw materials: Quartz, chert, quartzite and various igneous (volcanic) rocks Who made these tools?Tool Types: Leading on from the Oldowan, the Early Acheulean saw the appearance of handaxes (shaped to a point) and cleavers (shaped to a sharp, cutting edge).In addition to large numbers of Early Acheulean tools found at Sterkfontein and Swartkrans, other sites in the Cradle of Humankind (Kromdraai, Cooper’s, Goldsmith’s and Drimolen) have produced smaller numbers that probably date from this period.
Raw materials: Quartz, chert, quartzite and various igneous (volcanic) rocks Who made these tools?
Important was a new ability to strike larger flakes off a core and to use them for making more heavy-duty tools.