Venosa Basin, Italy
Site excavation director: M.H. Moncel, UMR 7194 HNHP (MNHN-CNRS-UPVD), Département Homme et Environnement, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle
LTFAPA project: use-wear and residues analyses of chipped stone tools
The site of Notarchico is the most ancient Acheulean site of Italy, one of the most ancient in Europe, dating around 700 Kya. The site consists of an imponent 7 m-thick sequence of fluvial sediments including various archaeological levels excavated during the ‘80s-’90s of the last century. Recently, new excavations were promoted by M.H. Moncel and her team. LTFAPA lab. is part of this team and has in charge the use-wear analysis of the lithic industry in collaboration with B. Hardy (Kenyon College, USA) who carries out the residues analysis. The recent paper published in Scientific Reports of Nature, documents the preservation of use-wear and residues on small flakes and small tools that were used for different activities, apparently without some prevailing activity. It is worth mentioning that plant and, especially, wood working are well represented, testifying activities not only related to food processing.
Moncel M.H, , Santagata, C., Pereira, A., Nomade, S., Voinchet, P., Bahain,J.-J., Daujeard, C., Curci, A., Lemorini, C. et al. “The origin of early Acheulean expansion in Europe 700 ka ago: new findings at Notarchirico (Italy). Scientific Reports 10, 13802 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-68617-8
Lower Paleolithic, Oldowan sites, Kenya
Sites excavation director: T.W.Plummer, Queens College, CUNY & NYCEP, NY, USA.
LTFAPA project: use-wear and residues analyses of chipped stone tools and macro-lithic tools of the Oldowan sites of Kanjera South, Nyayanga, Sari River.
The Homa Peninsula is a region located insouthwestern Kenya, reach in anthropic evidences of Early Stone Age. Three Oldowan sites, ranging from 2.600 – 2 Mya, are currently under study: the fully excavated site of Kanjera South and the two sites of Nyayanga and Sari River. The intensive survey and excavation of the archeological occurrences of the Homa Peninsula for more than two decades and the related analyses, allowed to obtain a detailed picture of the local paleoenvironment at that time, of the fauna exploitation, of the lithic raw material exploitation and the knapping techniques that hominins carried out to make lithic tools. Lithic raw material consists of a great variety of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic and metasomatised), the 28% of which are non-local and collected in stream and river conglomerates no closer than 10-13 km from Kanjera South and Nyayanga. The core production modes change in relation to the exploited raw material. At Nyayanga, besides the chipped stone tools, macro-lithic tools, made of the same imported raw material, are present.
The great state of preservation of the lithic industry, extremely rare in so ancient contexts and probably caused by the fast deposition of the artifacts, allowed to set up a research project of use-wear analysis and residue analyses in collaboration with the National Museum of Nairobi.
Amazing data resulted from the use-wear analysis were already published in 2014 and 2019. Quartz, quartzite, rhyolite and fenetized chipped stone tools from Kanjera South were used not only for butchering but also for cutting and processing a variety of plants as wood, herbaceous plants and tubers. These data shed new light on the behavior of so ancient hominins suggesting that they were strongly familiar with plants exploitation.
The research project is going on with the analysis of the chipped stone tools and the macro-lithic tools of Nyayanga that are revealing extraordinary results now under publication.
Lemorini C., Plummer T.W., Braun D.R., Crittenden A.N., Ditchfield P.W., Bishop L.C., Hertel F., Oliver J.S., Marlowe F.W., Schoeninger M.J., Richard Potts R. (2014), Old stones’ song: Use-wear experiments and analysis of the Oldowan quartz and quartzite assemblage from Kanjera South (Kenya), Journal of Human Evolution, pp. 10-25. https://doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.03.002
Lemorini C., Bishop L. C., Plummer T. W., Braun D. R., Ditchfield P W., Oliver J. S. 2019 Old stones’ song—second verse: use-wear analysis of rhyolite and fenetized andesite artifacts from the Oldowan lithic industry of Kanjera South, Kenya, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, volume 11, 9, pp 4729–4754. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-019-00800-z
Bishop, Laura C.; Plummer, Thomas W.; Braun, David R.; Ditchfield, Peter W.; Goble Early, Emily; Hertel, Fritz; Lemorini, Cristina; et al. (2022) Fauna and Paleoenvironments of the Homa Peninsula, Western Kenya Chapter 29 African Paleoecology and Human Evolution , pp. 360 – 375. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139696470.029
Thomas W. Plummer, James S. Oliver, Emma M. Finestone, Peter W. Ditchfield, Laura C. Bishop, Scott A. Blumenthal, Cristina Lemorini, Isabella Caricola ….and and Richard Potts (2023) Expanded geographic distribution and dietary strategies of the earliest Oldowan hominins and Paranthropus, Science}, 379}, 663, 561-566}. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abo7452.
Lemorini C., Nunziante Cesaro S. (eds.), (2014), An integration of use-wear and residues analysis for the identification of the function of archaeological stone tools, BAR (I.S.), Oxford, pp. 63-76. doi: http//:10.30861/9781407312880
Nucara A., Nunziante-Cesaro S., Venditti F., Lemorini C. A multivariate analysis for enhancing the interpretation of infrared spectra of plant residues on lithic artefacts. J. Archaeol. Sci. Rep. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102526.
Traces analysis on spinning and weaving archeological tool-kits
Laurito R., Lemorini C., Perilli A. (2014), Cap. 10, Making Textiles at Arslantepe, Turkey, in the 4th and 3rd Millennia BC. Archaeological Data and Experimental Archaeology. In: C.Breniquet, C.Michel (eds.), Wool economy in the ancient Near East and the Aegean. From the beginnings of sheep husbandry to institutional textile industry, Ancient Textile Series, vol. 17, Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 151-168.
Forte, V., Lemorini, C. 2017. Traceological analyses applied to textile implements: an assessment of the method through the case study of the 1st millennium BC ceramic tools in Central Italy. ORIGINI XL, pp.165-182. ISBN10: 977047468000817001
Galli, M., Coletti, F., Lemorini, C., Mitschke, S., 2018 The textile culture at Pompeii project, In Maria Stella Busana, Margarita Gleba, Francesco Meoand Anna Rosa Tricomi (a cura di) Textiles and Dyes in the Mediterranean Economy and Society , Proceedings of the VIth International Symposium on Textiles and Dyes in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Padova – Este – Altino, Italy 17 – 20 October 2016) Libros Portico, Valencia.
Forte V., Coletti F., Ciccarelli E., Lemorini C. The Contribution of Experimental Archaeology in Addressing the Analysis of Residues on Spindle-Whorls, EXARC Journal Issue 2019/4.