The Oldowan site Aïn al Fil (El Kowm, Syria) and the first humans of the Syrian Desert

Le Tensorer, Jean-Marie and Le Tensorer, Hélène and Martini, Pietro and von Falkenstein, Vera and Schmid, Peter and Villalain, Juan José. (2015) The Oldowan site Aïn al Fil (El Kowm, Syria) and the first humans of the Syrian Desert. L'anthropologie, 119 (5). pp. 581-594.

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At present, the oldest traces of human cultures are found in Eastern Africa. New discoveries set anew the questions about human and animal dispersal into Eurasia. For over 1.8 million years, humans have been present in the Levant. An extensive program of surveys and excavations in the Syrian Desert showed that this part of the world was a very ancient land of settlement. In Central Syria, the oldest site, Aïn al Fil in the region of El Kowm, was excavated in 2008 and 2010. The lithic industry in the lowest layer can be characterized by numerous unretouched flakes, pebble-tools and core-like artefacts. This assemblage is typical in a broad sense of archaic Palaeolithic the debitage of which corresponds to mode 1. From a techno-typological point of view, this industry tallies quite well with the so-called Oldowan stage. It shows remarkable similarities with the oldest African assemblages. From a chronologic point of view, these levels occur before three positive events in the Matuyama paleomagnetic sequence. It seems consistent to place the Oldowan sequence around 1.8 Ma BP within the Olduvai subchron or just before Olduvai/Matuyama reversal limit. Together with those of the neighbouring site Hummal, these levels would be the oldest traces of human presence ever found in Syria. In the Levant, the first humans not only occupied favourable zones but regularly ventured deep into less welcoming environments suggesting an astonishing flexibility in their behavioural and survival skills.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Urgeschichte (Le Tensorer)
UniBasel Contributors:Le Tensorer, Jean-Marie and Martini, Pietro
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:08 Sep 2016 08:25
Deposited On:08 Sep 2016 08:25

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