Our human ancestors roamed the globe until 6 million years ago, but what is the earliest place to contain archaeological evidence of their existence?
According to about 12 scholars, two locations, Kenya and Ethiopia, are considered the leading candidates for the oldest archaeological site in the world, all with prehistoric expertise. Archeology When Anthropology, Someone who talked to live science.
The question of what is the oldest archaeological site in the world is “a topic that recently divided the archaeological community.” Jonathan Saar, Senior Archeology Lecturer at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, emailed Live Science. ..
The first place, called Lomekwi 3, is located on a low hill in western Turkana, Kenya, and holds Hominini bone and stone relics. In a study published in the journal in 2015 NatureResearchers reported that by dating the deposits in which the artifacts were found, the site was estimated to be about 3.3 million years old. A team of scientists wrote in a journal article that the finding “marks a new beginning in known archaeological records.”The tool was probably created by Australopithecus afarensis, The Hominini (human ancestors and their relatives) who were prosperous in this area at that time.
The site is located in a wooded area of a small hill not far from Lake Turkana.It is possible Australopithecus afarensis The team used stone relics to break the open nuts they wrote in their treatise. The number of people who lived in the place at any given time is not clear.
“Lomekwi 3 is the oldest known archaeological site in the world,” Jason Lewis, assistant director and co-author of the treatise at the Turkana Basin Institute, told Live Science by email.
Jeremy DeSilva, an associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College who was not involved in the study, agreed that Lomekwi 3 was the oldest known archaeological site, but not all scholars agreed. rice field. “Lomekwi is controversial and some of our colleagues remain uncertain about the age of these tools,” DeSilva told Live Science.
In fact, many recent treatises “question the situation of the relics in Lomekwi 3 and claim that they were not actually found in situations where the age of the relics was certain,” said David Brown, a professor of anthropology. Says. He spoke to live science at George Washington University. In other words, the artifact may not have the same date as the deposit it was found on.
Saale is one of those archaeologists. On the banks of the Kadagona River in Afar, Ethiopia, “For many of us, clear evidence of the oldest archaeological events, including myself, comes in the form of 2.6 million year old stone tools from Gonna. “I will.” Said Saale. The results of the Lomekwi 3 dating have been disputed, and he said he had serious suspicions that the body found there dates back 3.3 million years.
While the study at Lomekwi 3 was published relatively recently, the study at Gonna has been published for decades and has withstood academic scrutiny, Saar said. “Inferences made in the context of chronological and behavioral [the] Gonna’s archaeological community has come from decades of research and has endured the challenges of time, “says Saale.
Gona’s stone tools may have been made by Australopithecus gulli, a human ancestor who lived in East Africa about 2.5 million years ago. This type of fossil was found near stone tools and may have been one of the first human ancestors to make sophisticated stone tools.Smithsonian Human Origin Project Website Note.
“Lomekwi’s claim was not well substantiated when it was announced. [been] Tim White, co-director of the Human Evolution Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, provided no new evidence, despite some well-thought-out criticisms of the original Nature’s announcement. ” The oldest ruins.
On the other hand, some scholars support the idea that Lomekwi is older than Gonna. Rick Potts, director of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins program, is convinced that Lomekwi 3 is “the oldest place with solid evidence of stones and stone percussion instruments.” In other words, it is the oldest place with stone relics made by human ancestors. He said the Lomekwi 3 stone relics look different from those found in Gonna. They are more crude and may not be used as a tool at all. The Lomekwi 3 stone relic “shows the nasty crushing of rocks, including large, thick, irregularly shaped flakes that may be an accidental by-product of pounding. For what purpose, now No one knows, “Potts wrote in an email. The Lomekwi 3 people may not have created the tool, but they are hitting the rocks together for unknown reasons. Even if Lomekwi 3 artifacts are not used as tools, they are still considered human-created artifacts.
Brian Villmoare, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, told Live Science: Australopithecus afarensis He could have made a stone tool, “he said, but said he had not examined the relics of Lomekwi 3.
If Brown cannot alleviate concerns about dating Lomekwi 3 in future fieldwork, his second option as the oldest archaeological site is Lady Geral in Afar, Ethiopia, dating back about 2.8 million years. Said.
At Ledi-Geraru, researchers found a partial Hominini mandible with teeth and dated it by dating the surrounding sediments, they reported in the journal. Chemistry In 2015.
Sahle questioned the age of the site, saying it could be well younger than 2.8 million years and that Gona is the site with the clearest evidence.
Originally published in Live Science.
What is the oldest known site in the world?
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