Early Acheulian & Developed OldowanB / n)oldef-hrbifwynnfig29
Biface/Cleaver. Site EF-HR, Upper Middle Bed II, Olduvai Gorge (c. 1.3 MYA).
This Early Acheulian biface ('cleaver') like the previous image also appears to me to have a 'three-tiered', 8-faceted set of thematic shapes. This is the most complex and aesthetically pleasing of all the Early Acheulian bifaces illustrated in Wynn (1989). The lower tier has a mirror symmetry of concave shapes as does the upper tier and thus each tier has a mirror symmetry to the other. In complementary fashion, the middle tier has a mirror symmetry of convex curvilinear shapes. At the top and bottom is a mirror symmetry of rectilinear natural breaks, in opposition to the curved shapes on the sides. If so, this demonstrates both the refined sense for aesthetic beauty and the playfulness and jouissance of its maker. That Early Acheulian bifaces had some sort of non-utilitarian purpose is most evident in this type of biface. Was the Early Acheulian symmetry-making decorative or 'art for art's sake'? Did it have a symbolic social or spiritual significance as I have proposed in Notes Toward an Early Acheulian Stone Tools Logic Model: Constitutive Operations and Analogies of the Soul? I leave it to you to judge.
Illustration © T. Wynn. T. Wynn. (1989). The Evolution of Spatial Competence. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press: fig. 29. (yellow highlight added)