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2015-04-10 19:18:15   •   ID: 1233

The MSA of Garba III (Melka Kunture)

Figure 1
Figure 1: These are a two thick Levallois convergent artifacts and one delicate thin non-Levallois triangular scraper from Garba III made from obsidian, which is heavily patinated. The facetted platform of item 2 is shown in Figure 2.

Melka Kunture is a valley site, which extends for almost 6 km in both Awash River banks, with superimposed terraces whose remains are preserved to a maximum of 100 m of sediments.

Figure 2
Kunture is located 50 km south of Addis Abeba and part of the East African Rift Valley. At Melka Kunture there have been identified more than 70 archaeological levels so far. This sequence is only comparable with the archaeological record at Oldoway Gorge and span the times of the Oldowan (ca 1,7 my), Acheulian and early MSA.

The excavators initially suggest that there is good evidence for a general continuity in the development of technological and other cultural patterns during the whole sequence-but during the last years - technologically discontinuities have more and more emphasised.

The earliest at findings at Melka Kunture come from the early Oldowan sites Karre and from level B of Gombore I; with a K/Ar ages near to 1,6/1,7 m.y.

Garba III includes terminal Acheulean hand axes in the lower strata, maybe 250 k.a. old.

The overlying MSA is dated to at least 120 ka. BP and characterized by a typical Levalloisian chaine opératoire and many retouched tools on flakes were found.

The Nubian Levallois-Method is well contested. Opportunistic and Discoid cores have also been found. Volcanic stones, especially Obsidian were the preferred raw material at the site.

Thick Denticulates are by far the most frequent formal tool at Garba III followed by scrapers. There are also triangular / convergent pieces, sometimes made by disoidal or a Levallois chaine operatoire comparable to the artifacts in this post.

Anyhow, in contrast to other East African MSA sites, the production of "Points" was not the main focus of Homo who lived here.

A little less than 7 km from Melka Kunture, at Balchit, obsidian outcrops are abundant. As evidenced by the analyses of samples from several sites, this volcanic glass was an important raw material, frequently used ever since the Oldowan.

Obsidians played a prominent role at the poorly documented LSA sites of Wofi and Kella. The exploitation of Obsidian in the Melka region went on until historical times, leaving in the area of Balchit extensive accumulations of tens of thousands of blades, cores, and residues.

Suggested Reading:

See the Melka Kunture Homepage- what you always wanted to know about the sites- you will find it there!