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Seminar: Origins of lithic technology

20131126_095432Matt Caruana and UP Masters student Melindi de Lange

The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology and the University of Pretoria Archaeological Society (UPAS) cordially invites you to our departmental seminar by Matt Caruana from the University of the Witwatersrand. Matt is currently the PhD Candidate under Prof. Kathy Kuman. His project is focused on the identification of percussive technology, and developing analytic methods for understanding how impact damage develops through use and skill. Besides his Doctoral studies, Matt is also involved in research projects undertaken in the following areas: Taung World Heritage Site, the Vaal River region of the Northern Cape, and the Koobi Fora Pounding Tool Survey Project in the Lake Turkana Basin of Northern Kenya. Previously, Matt studied at the University of Manchester in the UK and University of California in the USA.


Our understanding of the origins of lithic technology has long been obscured by a lack of sites preserved beyond ~2.5 Ma. However interdisciplinary perspectives from archaeology and primatology are shedding new light on this subject. The commonalities of percussive tool use amongst the Primate Order offers a unique viewpoint to investigate the technological links between early hominins and their last common ancestor with chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Given its prevalence amongst nonhuman primates and early hominins, percussive technology is likely associated with the earliest forms of tool use. The newly emerging Primate Archaeology field is developing analyses to compare and contrast percussive toolkits used by nonhuman primates and early hominins to shed light on how this technology developed. Furthermore, current research in the east Turkana Basin in Kenya is also attempting to locate archaeological sites between 3 – 7 Ma in hopes of linking lithic technology to the earliest members of the hominin lineage. With the development of new methods for analysing percussive technology, it is possible to test archaeological remains from beyond 2.5 Ma and illuminate traces of the last common ancestor.

Date: 03 September 2014 (Wednesday)
Venue: Seminar Room HB 8-18
Time: 14:00

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