Yesterday, one of our volunteers was very excited to learn that the PAHMA curates some of the oldest stone tools ever fabricated. Coincidentally, two of them were briefly featured two years ago for the University Cal-Day event. Before presenting them here I would like to sincerely thank our many volunteers without whose work many projects at the museum would simply not happen.
This chopper from the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania was dated to 1.8 million years ago. It was likely made by Homo abilis that is considered to be the first tool-maker. The Oldowan tradition will continue until 800.000 years ago overlapping in places with the later and more elaborate Acheulean tools.
Hearst Museum 5-1997
Chopper or bashing stone, quartz
Tanzania, Olduvai Gorge, Site FLK I
Collected by J. Desmond Clark, September 1960.
The hand-axe, also from the gorge, was dated to 1 million years ago and attributed to the Early Acheulean. Similar hand-axes were originally crafted by Homo ergaster/erectus as early as 1.5 million years ago. A few millennia later they accompanied him in his early forays to the Middle East and Europe where they represent the oldest evidence of human presence outside of Africa.
Hearst Museum 5-7826
Hand axe, nephelenite lava
Tanzania, Olduvai Gorge, Site KRK-III or IV, surface
Collected by Richard L. Hay, 1962 or 1964.
Below you can read the short text that accompanied the objects in the gallery with a philosophical commentary.