Institute of Archaeology

 Significant student satisfaction

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Andrea Zupancich

Understanding the function of Early Stone Age tools: use–wear analysis of lithic artifacts from Bed I and II of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

This research focuses on the use-wear analysis of a lithic collection from Beds I and II at Olduvai Gorge, housed in the Nairobi National Museum and in Arusha dated between 1,8 and 1,6 million years ago, associated to the transition period between the Oldowan and the Acheuleuan cultures. The second dataset comes from the Kanjera South archaeological basin located in Kenya, dated to 2 million years ago.

The key questions, which my research is planned to answer to, are:

- What type of activity was carried out with every object?

- What material were the objects used on?

- Can we identify any differences in the use of similar tools between different Early Stone Age hominin groups?

- Can we identify any differences in the use of stone tools within Oldowan and Acheulean deposits?

The main aim of this project will be to define the functionality of these objects and the materials on which they were used on. During the project a number of tests will be undertaken with the use of experimental tools, in order to create a use-wear comparison collection and to understand better their formation processes. The analysis of materials of material coming from different deposits will be carried in order to detect local differences and to determine whether synchronic different patterns could be recognized or not. Afterwards, Bed I and Bed II collections will be confronted to individuate possible functional differences in a diachronic framework.


 Educational background

  • BA in Scienze Archeologiche, Universita’ Sapienza di Roma (2010)
  • MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, UCL (2011)

Zupancich, A. 2011. Uso dei Manufatti in Pietra tra i primi ominidi: studio sperimentale e analisi traceologica dei materiali provenienti dal sito di Kanjera South. , B.A. Dissertation, Dissertation Archive Series [Electronic], ISSN 2038-7083, ATPG

  • Use of an experimental Rhyolite flake to debark wood
  • Edge damage on a Rhyolite flake used to process wood
  • View of the Olduvai Gorge

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