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African archaeology by D W Phillipson

By D W Phillipson

During this totally revised and accelerated version of his seminal archaeological survey, David Phillipson offers a lucid, absolutely illustrated account of African prehistory, from the origins of humanity to the time of ecu colonisation, and demonstrates the relevance of archaeological study to an figuring out of Africa today.

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Africanus (Clarke 1998, 1999). There has been considerable controversy over the precise nature of these sites and how the bone concentrations amongst which the hominid remains occurred came to be accumulated. It was at one time thought that many of the animal bones at Makapansgat had been selected by hominids and taken to the site for use as tools (Dart 1957), an hypothesis based upon the uneven representation of different body parts and upon the seemingly standardised fractures on many of the bones.

The rounded skull-vault with a welldeveloped forehead housed a brain which, at about 800 cubic centimetres, was some 70 per cent larger than those of the contemporary P. ) boisei. The sagittal crest and massive muscle attachments of the latter species were not present in 1470. 75 million years ago, if not before, a second species of Homo may be recognised in East Africa. It was at one time given the designation H. erectus to emphasise its perceived similarity to certain East and Southeast Asian fossils, but some authorities now consider that the single designation is inappropriate and prefer to class the East African material as H.

Malawi R. Zambezi Makapansgat Sterkfontein Oran Taung g e R. R. Kromdraai Swartkrans al Va Rift Valley 0 0 1000 km 500 miles Fig. 11: The principal sites at which Australopithecus and Homo habilis fossils and/or well-dated Oldowan artefacts have been discovered of thirteen early hominids, including four juveniles, were found together. The most informative discovery, however, is a 40 per cent complete skeleton of a female, popularly known as Lucy. Her pelvis and leg bones indicate a well-developed upright posture.

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