Later Acheulian Exotic Stones

In addition to the Later Acheulian symbolic systems, there is a continuation of use of red ochre and exotic crystals and fossils from earlier eras of human evolution (summaries in Bednarik 1994a, 1994c, 1992b; Edwards 1978).

Red ochre: The use of red ochre, for which evidence first appears in the Middle Acheulian at Kathu Pan 1, 800-900,000 BP (Beaumont 1990, 2004; Bednarik 2013), Kathu Townlands 1, and Wonderwork Cave, South Africa, continues into the Later Acheulian. Examples of striated or abraded (used) hematite include Hunsgi, India (Bednarik 1990); Beçov, Czechoslovakia (Marshack 1981); Terra Amata, France (de Lumley 1966); Ambrona, Spain (Howell 1966: 129). The Tan Tan, Morocco, figurine is red ochred (Bednarik 2001).

The collection of exotic objects, which may have had symbolic uses, continues from the Oldowan. Middle and Later Acheulian examples include:

  • Quartz crystals:
    • Zhoukoudian, China, Upper 8 Quartz Horizon 2 (Locus G), ~770,000 BP: ~20 quartz crystals, 1 perfect fully faceted smoky quartz, some transparent or semi-transparent with one or more of faces recognizable, probably transported from 7 km away (Pei 1931);
    • Gudenus Cave, Austria, Acheulian level, fragment of large crystal with several facets (Bednarik 1988);
    • Singi Talav, India, lower Acheulian level, >390,000 BP: 6 complete quartz crystals from different crystal flowers and probably transported to site (D’Errico et al 1989; Bednarik 1994b) (see slide below)
  • Fossils:
    • Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel, ~750-780, 000 BP, Middle Acheulian: 2 naturally perforatd 'bead-like' crinoid fossils, natural to site; also angular quartz crystals in same deposit (Goren-Inbar, Lewy and Kisley 1991)
    • Swanscombe Middle Gravels, c. 400,000 BP: two pieces of chert containing Jurassic fossil coral in which the corallites are on average five-sided pentagons and are manuports from 193 kilometers away (Oakley 1973, 1981) (see slide below)
    • Saint-Just-des-Marais, France, Acheulian: scraper with echinoid cast (Oakley 1973) (see slide below)
  • Artifically flaked geometrics, such as spheroids and circular disks: some examples:
    • Zhoukoudian, Upper 8 Quartz Horizon 2 (Locus G), ~770,000 BP: spheroids (Binford 1985; Bednarik 1991)and Lantian, China (summarized Bednarik1994c, 1992b)
    • Bhimbetka, India, III F-24 (Wakankar), Acheulian: chalcedony disk (Kumar 1990; Bednarik 1992a);
    • Maihar, India, Late Acheulian: centripetally flaked flat sandstone disk, too soft to be a tool (J. N. Pal, cited Bednarik 1992a);

Photo © as noted. Citations with individual slides.

a)singitav b)stjust c)swanscmprt2 d)swansmprtrot90 e)swansmprtrot180
a)singitav.jpg b)stjust.jpg c)swanscmprt2.jpg d)swansmprtrot90... e)swansmprtrot18...

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