Autochthony and orientation patterns in Olduvai Bed I: a re-examination of the status of post-depositional biasing of archaeological assemblages from FLK North (FLKN)

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Domínguez Rodrigo, Manuel and Bunn, Henry T. and Pickering, T.R. and Mabulla, Audax Z.P. and Musiba, C. and Baquedano, Enrique and Ashley, G.M. and Díez Martín, Fernando and Santonja, Manuel and Uribelarrea del Val, David and Barba, Rebeca and Yravedra Sainz de los Terreros, José and Barboni, D. and Arriaza, Mari Carmen and Gidna, Agnes (2012) Autochthony and orientation patterns in Olduvai Bed I: a re-examination of the status of post-depositional biasing of archaeological assemblages from FLK North (FLKN). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 39 (7). pp. 2116-2127. ISSN 2352-409X

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Abstract

Recent excavations at FLK North (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania) have produced new information on the orientation of archaeological materials at various levels of the site. This information includes the uniform distribution of material azimuths, which contrasts with previous inferences of highly patterned orientations of materials in the Bed I archaeological sites. Those previous inferences of patterned material orientations are based on Mary Leakey's 50-year-old drawings of artifact and fossil bone distribution, but are not verified by our precise measurements of archaeological objects made in situ. Nor do those previous results agree with the general lack of geological, geomorphological, and/or taphonomic data that would indicate significant post-depositional movement of archaeological materials in the sites. We argue here that Leakey's drawings are incomplete (only portions of each assemblage were drawn) and inaccurate in their representation of the original locations, shapes and orientations of most archaeological specimens. This argument is supported by several important mismatches in object representations between a photograph taken of a small portion of the FLK 22 Zinjanthropus site floor before the removal of the archaeological items, and the sketch of the same area drawn by Leakey. Thus, we conclude that primary orientation data of excavations (i.e., direct measurements taken from items) generated prior to object removal are the only valid indicators of the relative isotropy or anisotropy of these important paleoanthropological assemblages.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Olduvai Gorge; FLK North; FLK Zinj; Orientation; Isotropy; Autochthony; Site formation history; Taphonomy.
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
Humanities > History > Archaeology
ID Code:65732
Deposited On:07 Jun 2021 11:49
Last Modified:08 Jun 2021 18:38

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