Deconstructing Olduvai: A Taphonomic Study of the Bed I Sites

The Olduvai Bed I archaeological sites, dating back to almost 2 million years, have been at the epicenter of the debate on how early humans behaved. This book presents a new analytical approach which, after having been applied to these sites, has produced unexpected results: the association of stone tools and faunal remains at most Olduvai Bed I sites is accidental and not related to hominid behavior. Only at one site, FLK Zinj, is this association intentional. Through careful taphonomic analysis of this site, coupled with detailed experimental work, it is possible to rule out the hypothesis that hominids were passive scavengers. Hominids were targeting meat in the exploitation of animals, which they probably obtained through some degree of predation, and their behavior seems to have been more advanced than previously thought.
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