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BIEA and NMK Joint Seminar Series

August 22, 2014

Strategic use of landscape by hominins in the Levant and Kenya Rift

Date: Thursday 4 September 2014

Time: 10.30 to 11.30

Location: Old Boardroom of the Nairobi National Museum

Professor Geoffrey King

Laboratoire de Tectonique, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France

Department of Archaeology, University of York, York, UK

Chair: Dr Edward Pollard, BIEA, Nairobi



Humans and their ancestors have an advanced ability to use landscape and it may be that the Homo body form, group behaviour skills and ability to communicate have been promoted by adaptations to complex topography created by active tectonics. We consider palaeolandscapes in the Levant and south Kenya re-constructed using methods originally developed to study earthquake faulting. We also map trace elements in soils, critical to the health of large mammals. These techniques allow us to identify the limited routes of movement and grazing areas available to large mammals in the “Lower Palaeolithic”. On the basis of our new maps we suggest that homo may have been using ambush techniques to predate large and dangerous animals even 1 million years ago.

(Peter Owenga, Sally Reynolds, Simon Kuebler, Stephen Rucina, Derek Sturdy and Nan Godet)