On Thursday, after having collected all the raw materials during the Nariokotome trip, it was time for our young hominins to test their knapping skills and prove their worth to the Oldowan community. But before we started, the students made a short trip just outside the compound to collect some quartz pebbles to use as smaller hammerstones and as raw material for the first phase of the experimental archaeology session.
Phase 1 – “Pebble Culture”
When the first early stone tools were discovered by Mary and Louis Leakey at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, the assemblage was characterized as a “pebble culture”, to which the term Oldowan was attributed to. This was because the tools found were made out of pebbles. Since this discovery, however, many other Oldowan sites have been found and we now know that there was a greater variety of raw materials used to produce these tools which was not only restricted to pebble forms. Nevertheless, the use of pebbles is a feature of several Oldowan sites, so it was time for our hominins to journey back to 2.6 – 1.8 million years ago and knap some oldowan tools out of the quartz pebbles they collected.