A cautionary tale about early archaeological sites: a reanalysis of FLK North 6

M. Domínguez-Rodrigo, R. Barba, I. de la Torre, R. Mora

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12 Citations (Scopus)


© 2007, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. As the previous chapters have shown, FLK Level Zinj represents the clearest example of a “central place,” in which it is taphonomically possible to ascertain that most of the carcass remains were transported, processed, and exploited by hominids. For the past 25 years, this site has undergone taphonomic studies which have increased confidence that the other “Type C” sites in Olduvai Gorge could also represent similar “central places” or “Stone caches.” As discussed in Chapter 1, “Type C” sites have faunal remains from several animals in association with stone tools; the fauna have been commonly assumed to be the result of hominid transport, given that the materials are more densely clustered compared with background concentrations, and the diversity of niches represented by the fauna are not observed in natural scatters in modern savannas (Potts, 1988). Most zooarchaeological research on the Olduvai sites tends to support the idea that “Type C” sites are hominid-made (Bunn, 1982; Potts, 1988; Rose and Marshall, 1996). More than 20 years ago, Binford (1981) suggested that these sites could represent palimpsests in which various agents intervened independently, hominids being the most marginal of them. While this hypothesis has been proven wrong for sites such as FLK Zinj (Chapters 5 and 6), it still needs to be tested on other archaeological sites. We believe that untested assumptions still make up an important part of widespread interpretations of early sites. We also believe that behavioral reconstructions obtained for specific sites cannot be uncritically applied to all sites in the same category.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Cautionary Tale
  • Limb Bone
  • Lithic Assemblage
  • Stone Tool
  • Tooth Mark


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