Rethinking Tool-making

August 2-6, 2016


Participants at the thirteenth Human Evolution Workshop “Rethinking Toolmaking”

The Turkana Basin Institute hosted the 13th workshop of the Stony Brook/TBI Human Evolution Workshop series at its Turkwel campus from August 2 – 6. Entitled Rethinking Tool-making, the workshop was organized by archaeologists Drs. Sonia Harmand and Hélène Roche.

The 2015 discovery of the earliest-known stone tools at Lomekwi 3 in West Turkana has prompted a reexamination of technical adaptations in hominid development. Along with this discovery, recent publications in paleoanthropology, documenting hominin diversity and physical adaptations, have given rise to new investigations into the manipulative capabilities in early hominins and their implications for reconstructing cognition.


One of the world’s oldest stone tools from the Lomekwi 3 site. Photo credit: MPK-WTAP.

A few of the topics associated with hominin material culture discussed were:

  • motor skill and cognitive capacities
  • hominin fossils, anatomy (forelimb, wrist, hands, shoulder, thorax), functional morphology
  • use-wear traces, microscopic residues and functionality
  • ecology, environment and landscape use
  • adaptive benefits of tool-making
  • contribution from primatology