Saturday, 2 August 2014

One million-year-old artefacts excavated in South Africa


By Tajudeen Sowole
Artefacts of stone age tools said to have been excavated by archaeologists at a site as old as one million year have been  dated to the early Stone Age period.

Flakes and cores found at the Kathu Townlands site, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Image credit: Walker SJH et al.

According to Sci-News.com, the objects, which include hand axes, flakes and other tools were found recently at an archaeological site near the town of Kathu in Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The archaeologists from the University of Toronto and the University of Cape Town describes the Kathu Townlands archaeological site as one component of a grouping of prehistoric sites known as the Kathu Complex. "The site, named the Kathu Townlands, is one of the richest archaeological sites in South Africa. It is up to 1,000,000 years old."

  Sources recall that in the past, other sites in the same vicinity such as Kathu Pan-1 has produced fossils of animals such as elephants and hippos. The site, more importantly has  produced "earliest known evidence of tools used as spears from a level dated to half a million years ago."

Other sources say the objects, which were excavated between late last year, and early 2013 explain the recent results of the archaeological tests on the objects as stressing the site's richness in museum pieces of ancient origins. Kathu Townlands have produced tens of thousands of stone tools such as flakes, cores and artefacts in recent times.

This much has also been confirmed by Dr Michael Chazan of the University of Toronto’s Department of Anthropology “The Kathu Townlands was the site of ongoing intensive occupation and exploitation for stone tool manufacture,” Dr Chazan was quoted. Also, other archaeologists seemed to have argued along the same line of thoughts, so suggest  an article published in the journal PLoS ONE. “While one function of the site might have been as a quarry, rough-outs and primary flakes are rare, and there is a small component of finished tools (including rare hand axes made on non-local quartzite) suggesting that the site might have had a more diversified function.”

Chazan added: “we need to imagine a landscape around Kathu that supported large populations of human ancestors, as well as large animals like hippos.”

He was also quoted as saying that there were  indications suggesting that Kathu was much wetter, maybe more like the Okavango than the Kalahari. 'There is no question that the Kathu Complex presents unique opportunities to investigate the evolution of human ancestors in Southern Africa.”

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