The dawn of technology, Stone tools from Lake Turkana are earliest yet at 3.3 million years old

Nature 521, 310–315

Sonia HARMAND, Former Fyssen 2014-2015
Hélène ROCHE , Recipient of the Fyssen Prize 2014 ,
Member of the Fyssen Lecture Committee.

Jason E. Lewis, Craig S. Feibel,Christopher J. Lepre, Sandrine Prat*, Arnaud Lenoble, Xavier Boe, Rhonda L. Quinn, Michel Brenet, Adrian Arroyo, Nicholas Taylor, Sophie Clement, Guillaume Daver, J.-P. Brugal Louise Leakey, Richard A. Mortlock, James D. Wright, Sammy Lokorodi, Christopher Kirwa, Dennis V. Kent, Sammy Lokorodi, Christopher Kirwa, Dennis V. Kent & Hélène Roche

Human evolutionary scholars have long supposed that the earliest stone tools were made by the genus Homo
and that this technological development was directly linked to climate change and the spread of savannah grasslands. New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier hominin technological behaviour. We report the
discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatio-temporal association with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. The Lomekwi 3 knappers, with a developing understanding of stone’s fracture properties, combined core reduction with battering activities. Given the implications of the Lomekwi 3 assemblage for models aiming to converge environmental change, hominin evolution and
technological origins, we propose for it the name ‘Lomekwian’, which predates the Oldowan by 700,000 years and marks a new beginning to the known archaeological record »