Mammal butchery by Homo erectus at the Lower Pleistocene acheulean site of Juma’s korongo 2 (JK2), bed III, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

The Olduvai Gorge is considered one of the most relevant archaeological complexes with regards to the study of our human evolution. This is especially evident when studying the emergence of hunting practices over the past 1.7 Ma. Butchery activities have been documented throughout Bed II, including the exploitation of megafauna in a larger number of sites. Among these, Hippopotamus, giraffe, sivatherium and large bovids have been documented to be consumed by hominins in, BK, TK, FLK-West and SHK between 1.3 and 1.7 Ma. Similar evidence has also been found in sites from Koobi Fora (Kenya), Peninj (Tanzania) and Ain Hanech (Marroco). Contrary to sites of lower Pleistocene earlier than 1.3 Ma, human butchery practices later than this are scarce during the transition between the Lower and Middle Pleistocene. This is due to a lack of sites with lithic tools associated with faunal remains during this period in Eastern Africa. The Acheulean site of Juma’s Korongo 2 (JK2) of the Olduvai Gorge Bed III is one of the few known sites with faunal remains associated with stone tools in East Africa. Under this premise, the present study therefore revisits the taphonomy of JK2, confirming that hominins had primary access to carcasses in this site, followed by carnivores. This is seen by a lower frequency of tooth marks contrary to previous studies of this same site, alongside the location and frequencies of cut and percussion marks on bone. This suggests early access to carcass by humans in the bone assemblage of JK2.

Last Updated
March 2, 2021