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  Microbotanical residues for the study of early hominin tools

Mercader, J., Belev, G., Bushozi, P., Clarke, S., Favreau, J., Itambu, M., et al. (2022). Microbotanical residues for the study of early hominin tools. Scientific Reports, 12: 2951. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-06959-1.

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(last seen: March 2022)

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 Creators:
Mercader, Julio1, Author              
Belev, George, Author
Bushozi, Pastory, Author
Clarke, Siobhán, Author
Favreau, Julien, Author
Itambu, Makarius1, Author              
Jianfeng, Zhu, Author
Koromo, Samson, Author
Larter, Fergus, Author
Lee, Patrick, Author
Maley, Jason, Author
Fernández‑Marchena, Juan Luis, Author
Mohamed, Abdallah, Author
Mwambwiga, Aloyce, Author
Ngisaruni, Benja, Author
Kingi, Meshack, Author
Olesilau, Lucas, Author
Patalano, Robert1, Author              
Pedergnana, Antonella, Author
Sammynaiken, Ramaswami, Author
Siljedal, Joakim, AuthorSoto, María, AuthorTucker, Laura, AuthorWalde, Dale, AuthorOllé, Andreu, Author more..
Affiliations:
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: article, geographic mapping, human, noise, quantitative analysis, soil, taxonomic identification, tool use, workflow
 Abstract: More than 2 million years ago in East Africa, the earliest hominin stone tools evolved amidst changes in resource base, with pounding technology playing a key role in this adaptive process. Olduvai Gorge (now Oldupai) is a famed locality that remains paramount for the study of human evolution, also yielding some of the oldest battering tools in the world. However, direct evidence of the resources processed with these technologies is lacking entirely. One way to obtain this evidence is through the analysis of surviving residues. Yet, linking residues with past processing activities is not simple. In the case of plant exploitation, this link can only be established by assessing site-based reference collections inclusive of both anthropogenic and natural residues as a necessary first step and comparative starting point. In this paper, we assess microbotanical remains from rock clasts sourced at the same quarry utilized by Oldowan hominins at Oldupai Gorge. We mapped this signal and analysed it quantitatively to classify its spatial distribution objectively, extracting proxies for taxonomic identification and further comparison with freestanding soils. In addition, we used blanks to manufacture pounding tools for blind, controlled replication of plant processing. We discovered that stone blanks are in fact environmental reservoirs in which plant remains are trapped by lithobionts, preserved as hardened accretions. Tool use, on the other hand, creates residue clusters; however, their spatial distribution can be discriminated from purely natural assemblages by the georeferencing of residues and statistical analysis of resulting patterns. To conclude, we provide a protocol for best practice and a workflow that has the advantage of overcoming environmental noise, reducing the risk of false positive, delivering a firm understanding of residues as polygenic mixtures, a reliable use of controls, and most importantly, a stronger link between microbotanical remains and stone tool use. © 2022. The Author(s).

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022-02-22
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 12
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: Materials and methods
Results
- Blanks as environmental reservoirs
- Utilization creates residue clusters
- Anthropogenic residue distribution
- Of lichen habitability, proxy palimpsests, and hardened accretions
- A protocol to study plant residue from Oldowan pounding tools
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-06959-1
Other: shh3155
 Degree: -

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Title: Scientific Reports
  Abbreviation : Sci. Rep.
Source Genre: Journal
 Creator(s):
Affiliations:
Publ. Info: London, UK : Nature Publishing Group
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 12 Sequence Number: 2951 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2045-2322
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2045-2322