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Oldowan and Acheulian
Stone Tools
The pieces on this page represent some of the earliest stone tools used by hominids. The Oldowan pieces are over one
million years old yet their use is still obvious and when handled you instinctually orient them in your hand for the best fit - just
like the hominid that originally made them. Artifacts of this age are very thought provoking as they provide a link to the past
that everyone can understand and relate to (the desire to find something heavy to hit something with - nowadays usually a
construction nail, a million years ago who knows!).

All stone tools are shown next to a penny for scale (the penny measure 20mm / 0.75 inches wide). Please order using the  
reference number (found in parentheses) that is within each listing.
Ovate Handaxe (#1) - £100/$150
Tan Tan Plage, Morocco
Bifacial Proto Handaxe (#2) - £100/$150
La Youne, Morocco
Pointed Handaxe (#3) - £100/$150
El Kalous, Morocco
Crude Handaxe (#4) - £100/$150
La Youne, Morocco
Middle Acheulean
Pebble Chopper (#5) - £100/$150
Mistekavi Cave, Gilf Kebir, Egypt.
Handaxe (#6) - £100/$150
Quarzazate, Morocco
Ovate Handaxe / Pick (#7) - £125/$200
Quarzazate, Morocco. This is a BIG stone tool, and heavy!
Bifacial Proto Handaxe (#8) - £100/$150
El Kalhouna, Morocco
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#12) - £175/$250
Fatma, Nr. Hombori, Mali
Hand Axe (#13) - £100/$150
Taouz, Morocco.
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#14) - £175/$250
Akjoujt Region, Morocco
Upper Acheulean
Hand Axe (#16) - £100/$150
Draa Valley, Morocco.
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#18) - £125/$200
European Oldowan - Moledo de Minho, Portugal
Abbevillean (Oldowan) - France
Abbevillian Hand Axe (#19) - £150/$225
Toulouse, France.
Hand Axe, pick or club (#20) - £150/$225
Tassili Hogar, Algeria. A very unusual and large, heavy tool
Abbevillian Hand Axe (#21) - £150/$225
Toulouse, France.
Abbevillian Pebble Chopper (#22) - £150/$225
Toulouse, France.
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#23) - £175/$250
European Oldowan - Moledo de Minho, Portugal.
This is a HUGE stone tool. How those little hominids used it effectively is still a mystery. Heavy.
Bifacial Proto Handaxe (#24) - £125/$200
Esmara, Morocco. A huge and heavy stone tool.
The Oldowan is the archaeological term used to refer to the earliest stone tool industry in prehistory, being used during the
Lower Paleolithic period, 2.6 million years ago up until 1.7 million years ago, by Hominines. It was followed by the more
sophisticated Acheulean industry.

The term "Oldowan" is taken from the site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where the first Oldowan tools were discovered by
the archaeologist Louis Leakey in the 1930s. It is not known for sure which hominin species actually created and used
Oldowan tools. Its emergence is often associated with the species
Australopithecus garhi, and its flourishing with early
species of Homo such as
H. habilis and H. ergaster. Early Homo erectus appears to inherit Oldowan technology and refines
it into the Acheulean industry beginning 1.7 million years ago. Oldowan tools are sometimes called "pebble tools," so named
because the blanks chosen for their production already resemble, in pebble form, the final product. Oldowan tools are
sometimes subdivided into types, such as chopper, scrapers and pounders, as these appear to have been their main uses.
during the Lower Palaeolithic era across Africa and much of West Asia, South Asia, and Europe. Acheulean tools are
typically found with
Homo erectus remains. It is thought that they first developed out of the more primitive Oldowan
technology as long ago as 1.76 million years ago, by
Homo habilis.

It was the dominant technology for the vast majority of human history starting more than one million years ago. Their
distinctive oval and pear-shaped handaxes have been found over a wide area and some examples attained a very
high level of sophistication. Although it developed in Africa, the industry is named after the type site of Saint-Acheul,
now a suburb of Amiens in northern France, where some of the first examples were identified in the 19th century.

Providing calendrical dates and ordered chronological sequences in the study of early stone tool manufacture is often
accomplished through one or more geological techniques, such as radiometric dating, often potassium-argon dating,
and magnetostratigraphy. From the Konso Formation of Ethiopia, Acheulean hand-axes are dated to about 1.5 million
years ago using radiometric dating of deposits containing volcanic ashes. Acheulean tools in South Asia have also
been found to be dated as far as 1.5 million years ago. However, the earliest accepted examples of the Acheulean
currently known come from the West Turkana region of Kenya. These particular Acheulean tools were recently dated
through the method of magnetostratigraphy to about 1.76 million years ago, making them the oldest not only in Africa
but the world. The earliest user of Acheulean tools was
Homo erectus, who first appeared about 1.8 million years

From geological dating of sedimentary deposits, it appears that the Acheulan originated in Africa and spread to Asian,
Middle Eastern, and European areas sometime between 1.5 million years ago and about 800 thousand years ago.In
individual regions, this dating can be considerably refined; in Europe for example, it was thought that Acheulean
methods did not reach the continent until around 500,000 years ago. However more recent research demonstrated
that hand-axes from Spain were made more than 900,000 years ago.
Lower Acheulean
Abbevillian is a currently obsolescent name for a tool tradition that is increasingly coming to be called Oldowan. The type
site is on the 150-foot terrace of the River Somme. Tools found there are rough chipped bifacial handaxes made during
the Elsterian Stage of the Pleistocene Ice Age, which covered central Europe between 478,000 and 424,000 years ago.

The Abbevillian is a phase of Oldowan that occurred in Europe near, but not at, the end of the Lower Palaeolithic (2.5
million to 250,000 years ago). Those who adopt the Acheulian scheme refer to it as the middle Acheulian, about
600,000-500,000 years ago. Geologically it occurred in the Middle Pleistocene, younger than about 700,000 years ago.
It spanned the interglacial between the Günz and the Mindel, but more recent finds of the East Anglian Palaeolithic push
the date back into the Günz, closer to the 700,000 year mark.

The Abbevillian culture bearers are not believed to have evolved in Europe, but to have entered it from further east. It
was thus preceded by the earlier Oldowan of
Homo erectus, and was supplanted by the classical Acheulian, of which
Clactonian and Tayacian are considered phases. The Acheulian there went on into the Levalloisian and Mousterian
associated with Neanderthal man.

Abbevillian tool users were the first Hominin inhabitants of Europe. They are generally conceded to be the immediate
ancestors of Neanderthal Man. The Abbevillian became the European Acheulean and the Clactonian at about 500,000
years before present.
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#25) - £175/$250
Fatma, Nr. Hombori, Mali
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#26) - £175/$250
Fatma, Nr. Hombori, Mali
Bifacial Proto Handaxe (#27) - £100/$150
Esmara, Morocco.
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#28) - £125/$200
European Oldowan - Moledo de Minho, Portugal.
Hand Axe, pick or club (#30) - £150/$225
Tassili Hogar, Algeria. A very unusual and large heavy tool
Hand Axe, pick or club (#31) - £150/$225
Tassili Hogar, Algeria. A very unusual and large heavy tool
Handaxe (#32) - £125/$200
El Khalouna, Morocco. A big, heavy specimen.
Handaxe (#33) - £200/$300
Taouime, Morocco. A huge, heavy specimen.
Oldowan Pebble Chopper (#34) - £125/$200
European Oldowan - Moledo de Minho, Portugal.