Early Acheulian & Developed OldowanB / v)oldmnkbifpl20
Large lava biface measuring 29.7 cm. (11.3 in) in length and weighing 6.5 lbs. MNK Main Occupation Site, Upper Middle Bed II, Olduvai Gorge (c. 1.3 MYA). MNK Main is a Developed Oldowan B site.
The pleasing symmetry of this piece, especially with its multiple tiers of 'V's in relief lower center, and its large size and weight would not seem to have any utilitarian explanation. This piece argues convincingly for an aesthetic and symbolic significance. In a retrospective view from the symbolism later Acheulian of Phase III Early Paleolithic down through the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic, these 'V's would be interpretable as a proto-ideogram for female genderedness, in other words, the birth- or life-giver, the 'Great Goddess' of African, Near Eastern and European Neolithic civilizations. If so, this biface would be the earliest extent representative of this spiritual tradition. Without further examples, though, of such bifaces this must remain a very tentative hypothesis.
Photo © Leakey, M. (1971). Olduvai Gorge, Vol. 3. Cambridge: At the University Press: pl. 20.