Lecture6 7


Published on

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Lecture6 7

  1. 1. The Expansion of Homo erectus Settlement of Eurasia, Material Culture and Economy
  2. 2. Movement into Asia ● Some of the earliest dates for Homo settlement outside of Africa derive from East Asia, mainly China and Java ● Some anomalous dates suggest occupation of these regions as far back as 2.1 million years, but the majority of dates situate the presence of Homo erectus to no later than roughly 1.6 million years which is broadly consistent with the dates from Dmanisi ● We must accept that there was occupation in Pakistan and India, but hitherto there have been no secure dates from sites in these nations that can confirm this beyond doubt ● It is noteworthy that there is no evidence of bifacial tools—that is to say, Acheulean hand-axes—east of India The 'Movius Line' refers to the distinction ● This has been called the Movius Line, after seen in the lithic industries of China and the scholar that first recognised this spatial Eurasia, namely, that Acheulean hand- distinction in lithic industries axes do not occur in China. Instead, the ● The Movius Line has been thought to lithic industries here are dominated by represent the cultural isolation of East Asia in chopper industries the Lower Palaeolithic
  3. 3. Cultural Isolation ● The prevalence of the chopper industry in East Asia has led to suggestions of cultural isolation ● Moreover, this implies that the Acheulean technology had not travelled to this region and thus that the Homo erectus population here had left Africa and adjacent regions before this industry had developed ● This is consistent with the early dates, but it is questionable whether there were no cultural impulses reaching the region from points to the west of India ● We must, perhaps, recall the learning process of chimpanzees: that the tool making facility is acquired from the mother before the age of two years ● Does this possibly indicate that the Homo erectus population in China and elsewhere in the Orient did not acquire females from the west ?
  4. 4. Riwat, Pakistan ● The sites found in the Riwat Valley of Pakistan have afforded tantalisingly early dates for hominim occupation ● Although the date of 2.4 million years for some of the layers is probably erroneous, the chopper industry here is probably quite old ● Most of the sites lack any faunal evidence and do not provide fossil hominim evidence, so it is difficult to speculate on their relationship to those known in East Africa ● We must therefore base our suppositions of cultural affiliations on the meagre material culture remains that have been recovered, which seem to indicate a very early settlement occurring in this region
  5. 5. Material Culture ● Few artefacts were found at Riwat, but these are clearly produced in the chopper tradition ● The material is coarse and simple, but this is primarily a function of the raw material available ● Only quartzite pebbles were available to the occupants, which did not present many opportunities for producing more sophisticated implements ● Nevertheless, the material is not so poor that Acheulean hand-axes could not have been manufactured, thus indicating that this tradition had not been established ● The implements resemble those from Dmanisi quite strongly, and are likely roughly contemporary with them
  6. 6. The Evidence from the Orient Homo erectus in China and Java
  7. 7. Early Sites in East Asia ● In recent years, numerous sites of Homo erectus have been discovered in China ● Although these are undoubtedly very old, there is some controversy regarding their dating and some scholars have dismissed the earliest series of radiometric dates for a variety of reasons ● We nevertheless are left with at least two unequivocally ancient sites: Longgupo and Sangiran ● All of these are over a million years old, most probably as old as 1.7 million years ● Moreover, the new discoveries have begun to elicit questions concerning the Movius Line and other axioms of Lower Palaeolithic studies
  8. 8. Longgupo Cave, China ● The dates of the hominim bearing layers at Longgupo have been between 1.9 and 1.7 million years, but some of the Chinese scholars have argued for the possibility that they are in excess of 2 million years ● Much of the controversy regarding the dates arises from uncertainties of contamination of some of the samples ● This has led some to entertain the possibility that there specimens represent forms of Homo habilis or, indeed, another hominim species altogether ● Most of the debate has surrounded the peculiarities of the teeth as the fossil evidence is otherwise so fragmentary and incapable of providing much further information ● On current evidence, the dating of this site to 1.9 – 1.7 million years seems most compelling
  9. 9. Importance of Longgupo ● Irrespective of the dates, the site is profoundly important for the cultural evidence that is present in unequivocal association with hominim remains ● The site consists of discontinuous layers within a cave, the disturbance caused by the opening of a chimney and the collapse of later material ● Some remarks concerning the fossil remains are, however, apposite: they are unusual and differ from other specimens of the same age encountered in Africa ● It is the unusual characteristics of the fossil remains that have compelled some scholars to treat them as a species separate from Homo erectus and in some instances have suggested an independent origin
  10. 10. The Fossil Remains ● The determination of hominim species at Longgupo is encumbered by the fragmentary nature of the fossil evidence ● All that remains are teeth and a portion of the mandible, but the teeth are most certainly unusual in that they are rather small ● It has been suggested by some authorities that the dentition shows greater similarities with extinct Asian apes than with other members of the genus Homo ● This has led to the supposition that the Asian Homo erectus evolved from another line that left Africa much earlier ● But do we see a convergence in evolution elsewhere ? If it is another hominim species, does this invalidate the arguments about an exclusive origin in Africa ?
  11. 11. Material Culture
  12. 12. Sangiran, Java ● The sites at Sangiran in Java were situated along the Solo River ● First excavated by Koenigswald in the 1930s, they were near to the younger site of Trinil which afforded remains of 'Java Man' ● Whereas the latter has been dated to between 1,000,000 and 700,000 years, the former may be as old as 1.8 million years, if not more ● Most authorities accept that the oldest fossil bearing layers at Sangiran should be assigned to roughly 1.6 million years but there are some that consider a date of 700,000 years more appropriate, and still others that have argued for a date in excess of two million years ● All the characteristics of the crania from the lowest levels suggest that the specimen is over a million years old
  13. 13. Majuangou, China ● A site only recently investigated lies at Majaungou, in northern China, in the Niwehan Basin ● This is particularly well dated because it is situated in lacustrine sediments ● We can therefore confidently assert that it is ca. 1.66 million years old and are even able to correlate volcanic ash horizons with events elsewhere, such as in Africa ● The site continued to be occupied until 1.32 million years, and therefore affords an unique sequence for Asian sites ● Nearby lie other sites of considerable antiquity, the most significant being that of Xiaochangliang whose layers are contemporary with the uppermost at Majaungou
  14. 14. Material Culture ● The lithic industry at Majuangou consists of choppers, flakes and scrapers ● It is fortunate that the lacustrine sediment preserved faunal remains, for it is possible to assert that the tools were used to butcher the remains of animals such as horse (Equus sanmeniensis), mammoths or mastadonts (Elephas sp.), deer (Cervus sp.), hyena (Pachycrocuta sp.), bovid (Gazella sp.) and rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) ● Most of these animals were probably scavenged, rather than hunted, although it is possible that they were trapped in the soft sediment and despatched by the hominims that occupied the site where their remains were ultimately encountered
  15. 15. Yuanmou, China ● Another site of particular interest, because of its supposed antiquity, is that at Yuanmou ● Some of the palaeomagnetic assays have provided dates of 1.7 million years, but there is a curious inversion in the stratigraphic sequence—namely, there are extinct species at the top of the sequence rather than the bottom ● This has led some to suspect that the site is much younger than the 1.7 million years, this date reflecting contamination ● Instead, most scholars now affix this site at ca. 600,000 BP and it is therefore of significance, but not for elucidating the earliest occupation of Asia by hominims ● The site affords curious faunal remains in association with cultural material
  16. 16. Gongwangling, China ● The Gongwangling (Lantian) cranial fragments were discovered at a small hill near Gongwang Village, east of Lantian, in 1964 ● The first hominid fossil to be found was an isolated maxillary molar and several months later this was followed by large cranial vault fragment ● A large quantity of mammalian faunal material was also recovered from the site with a dominance of tropical and subtropical species has suggested a warmer climate than today ● There are a range of palaeomagnetic dates for the hominid locality, with a choice of 750,000 to 800,000, 1 million, or 1.15 million years depending upon how the sequence is interpreted ● Lithics were also recovered, but were sparse, the collection consisting of eleven cores, five flakes and four scrapers
  17. 17. Fossil Remains ● The human fossils (PA 1051-6) include a complete frontal, large part of the parietals, most of the right temporal, part of the left and right nasals, and a large section of the right maxilla with associated second and third molars, and part of the left maxilla ● Unfortunately, preservation of the bone fragments is extremely poor ● There is some distortion through ground pressure and marked erosion of external bone surfaces ● Features suggestive of Homo erectus are most apparent in the frontal bone which is broad, receding and has a robust supraorbital torus ● Marked postorbital constriction is evident and therte is no sulcus between the torus and frontal squama
  18. 18. Later Homo erectus Sites ● Numerous sites from after one million years have been found in China ● The dating of these are far more secure, given that a series of more accurate methods can be employed to correct the errors inherent in each of these ● Most of the Chinese sites, as those in the Middle East and Europe, occur in caves and therefore offer excellent conditions for the preservation of organic remains ● Some uncertainty regarding the nomenclature employed to describe different remains exists ● The term Homo erectus is still used widely in Asia, but it is becoming less accepted in Africa, Europe and western Asia resulting in confusion in the comparison of specimens
  19. 19. Yunxian, China ● This site has been dated to ca. 600,000 BP on the basis of Electron Spin Resonance assays on a tooth from a mammal ● The tools from this site afford specimens that can be interpreted as being bifacially worked and therefore cognate with the Acheulean tradition ● Such material appears to invalidate the 'Movius Line', but some scholars do not regard these finds as proper hand-axes ● A series of core and flake tools were also produced at Yunxian ● The raw material were river-rounded pebbles of quartzite and coarse sedimentary stones ● In the faunal assemblage, there are a wide range of animals and some of the remains afford evidence of butchery, but there is no unequivocal evidence of hunting and indeed nothing in this lithic collection suggest projectiles
  20. 20. Faunal Remains ● Herbivorous mammals are the dominant forms in the fauna ● In terms of age structure, young and old specimens predominate ● This suggests that the hunting methods were relatively primitive, in that they only those creatures that were easiest to kill were pursued ● Such a practise is consistent with the nature of the implements, as they are entirely lacking any obvious hunting tools ● Larger tools that appear to have had a butchery function were possibly made to butcher and skin larger animals that were scavenged ● It is possible that the smaller animals were hunted with wooden spears, their tips hardened by fire as is seen slightly later in the Palaeolithic at European sites
  21. 21. Homo erectus in Europe The Colonisation of Europe and the Main Sites from 1,000,000 BP to 250,000 BP
  22. 22. Expansion Into Europe ● Much controversy is associated with the first colonisation of Europe by hominims ● No sites in Europe indisputably exceed a million years in antiquity and there is a curious distribution in these, eliciting questions regarding the direction whence this colonisation proceeded ● At the moment, the earliest dates range from 1,000,000 years to 750,000 years and occur in Spain, Italy, England and Ukraine ● Naturally, there are some sites that are likely to be as old as these but their dating is uncertain because of contamination from later deposits and anomalies in the results from different samples
  23. 23. Routes of Expansion ● The oldest site that has been securely dated is from Spain, in the vicinity of Atapuerca ● Its location, and the rough contemporaneity of sites in Morocco, has led some to infer that migration might have occurred across the Gibraltar Strait ● Others regard this as beyond the technological and cognitive capacity of Homo erectus and his congeners, and instead envisage that settlement occurred from East to West from the Middle East and Caucasus over Anatolia or the Ukrainian steppes ● At the moment, there is indeed no evidence of maritime capacity amongst Homo erectus as no offshore regions or islands appear to have been occupied ● The most plausible route into Europe is therefore overland
  24. 24. Relationships Amongst Species ● Some controversy has arisen regarding the appropriateness of the term Homo erectus to describe the species occupying Europe, especially vis-à-vis the Asiatic specimens ● Because of morphological differences in the Spanish specimens from Atapuerca, a new designation was coined: Homo antecessor ● The species was regarded to have evolved directly from Homo ergaster, whereas Homo erectus also evolved from this species but came to flourish in East Asia ● Following Homo antecessor is Homo heidelbergensis, which appears sometime around 500,000 BP and is restricted in its distribution to Europe ● It may be, however, that the characteristics which distinguish Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis from Homo erectus are exaggerated and reflect geographical isolation and regional attributes rather than a separate species
  25. 25. The Earliest Sites in Europe
  26. 26. Atapuerca, Gran Dolina ● The earliest site in Europe is at Atapuerca in north-western Spain ● This has been dated to ca. 900,000 years by thermoluminescence assays and palaeomagnetic studies have suggested that the site is at least 780,000 years old ● Although initially surprising, there is little criticism of the dates obtained by the thermoluminescence assays and the earliest horizons are thus situated between 1,000,000 and 900,000 years ● A large quantity of lithic implements, faunal remains and hominim fossils were recovered at the sites, but most important of all of these, because it is the oldest of them, is known as TD-6 ● Other sites of considerable antiquity nevertheless surround this, some being almost of comparable age
  27. 27. Lithic Industry ● A total of two hundred and sixty-eight lithic remains were found at Atapuerca TD-6 ● This industry has been described as resembling that from Oldowan, with a preponderance of choppers and flakes from their production ● It has been likened to the industry at Dmanisi and Ubeidiya in Israel, but it is typical of all the chopper based industries in Africa and Eurasia ● Nevertheless, we should note that the tools were produced in a wide range of materials, showing a keen appreciation of the natural resources available in the region ● The microwear analysis of the implements have shown evidence for the working of wood as well, which suggests that we are missing a large proportion of the finds
  28. 28. Raw Material Distribution
  29. 29. Homo antecessor ● This species represents an extinct hominin and a potential distinct species dating from 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago ● Homo antecessor was about 1.6 - 1.8 metres tall, and males weighed roughly 90 kg ● Their brain sizes were roughly 1000– 1150 cm³, smaller than the 1350 cm³ average of modern human ● Basing on teeth eruption pattern, the researchers think that Homo antecessor had the same development stages as Homo sapiens, though probably at a faster pace ● Other features acquired by the species are a protruding occipital bun, a low forehead and a lack of a strong chin
  30. 30. Dentition ● Because of the their high component of genetic expression, teeth are considered the 'safe box' of the genetic code, so with teeth more than with any other skeletal part, the phenetic proximity/distance can be read as genetic proximity/distance ● The dendrogram obtained by phenetic analysis consists of three main branches ● One of them identifies the similarities among the species found in the Eurasian continent, clustering Homo erectus (ERE) with Homo heidelbergensis (HEI), Homo neanderthalensis (NEA), and the Sima de los Huesos (SH) hominins. SH and NEA show the highest similarities ● Homo georgicus (GEO) is the sister group of a large clade that contains all of the later Homo species. In this clade, a bifurcation is produced: one branch clusters Homo ergaster (ERG) and the hominins found in the Middle Pleistocene of North Africa (MPA), whereas in the other we can find ERE as the closest sister group of the fossils found in the Eurasian continent during the Pleistocene. Homo antecessor (ANT) is the closest group to the Middle and Upper Pleistocene species
  31. 31. Fauna and Economy ● Many animals remains were found at the oldest sites at Atapuerca ● Cut marks are present on the animal remains at both of the earliest sites ● The marks are consistent with processing by humans for the purpose of obtaining meat and marrow. ● Interestingly, at Gran Dolina most of the human material also display the same types of cut marks, indicating dismemberment was probably the goal ● The lack of carnivore tooth marks supports the suggestion that it was humans that made the incisions or marks ● Small animal remains at the Sima del Elefante site suggest the climate at the time was generally warm and humid with warmer-cooler shifts ● The diet appears to have included large amounts of meat ● Many of the remains at both sites are of large mammals that have been butchered and some of the larger bones have been broken to obtain the marrow ● At Gran Dolina, young horse and deer are particularly common
  32. 32. Pakefield, Suffolk
  33. 33. Monte Poggiolo, Italy
  34. 34. Ceprano, Italy