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2018-08-20 19:01:41   •   ID: 2018

A Chopping Tool from Reggane in Algeria

Figure 1
In Algeria, a lot of presumed archaeological sites were assigned to an Oldowan and have been described during the last decennia.

Ain Hanech until recently was an unique early Paleolithic site in primary context and dated at least to 1,2 my (see below).

Other locations were excavated, especially in the Saoura region (Alimen and Chavaillon 1962), but remain dubious according to current standards.

The surface collections of Aoulef (Hugot, 1955) and Reggane (Chavaillon 1961, Ramendo 1963 and 1964) may indicate a very old Paleolithic- but again the samples have been selectively collected decennia ago.

Nicole Chavaillon in 1961 published Reggane artifacts, collected during the 1950ies and described MSA, consisting of large Levallois cores, "Aterian points" and bifacial foliates and -several series of "Chopper" and "Chopping tools". Remaining sceptic, which was a rare attitude at this time, she pointed out, that the more simple tools could be part of the "Aterian"

The Reggan collection described by Ramedo comprises 321 pieces. The artifacts include mainly cores / "Chopping-Tools" beside unifacially, bifacially, facetted pebbles, discoids, and flakes made from diverse raw materials (quartz, quartzite, sandstone, flint, fossil wood and other volcanic rocks).

This surface collection includes a flake that refits with a bifacially-flaked "Chopping Tool" made from quartz (Ramendo, 1964). If the flake was not removed as a result of post-depositional processes, these conjoined pieces suggest that the assemblage may not have been heavily disturbed by post-depositional processes (included in the external link).

The specimen from Reggane, shown here is a "Chopper" / Core (8x4x1,5 cm) made from a small and flatt Quartzite pebble. It is slightly patinated but neither rolled nor much altered by post-depositional agency.

It remains unfortunate, that scientific evaluation of the deposits at Reggan stopped during the 1970ies.

Anyhow findings further North confirmed an Oldowan at Aïn Hanech, near Sétif in northern Algeria, and at the nearby sites of El-Kherba and Ain Boucherit, dated as early as 1,8-2,4 Mya. Maybe these sites were not as isolated in the landscape as suggested till now....

Suggested Reading:

Surf the Blog: 1183 , here 1235 , and here: 1697 .

Ramendo, L. (1963). Les galets aménagés de Reggan (Sahara). Libyca 11, 42-73.

Ramendo, L. (1964). Note sur un galet aménagé de Reggan. Libyca 12, 43-45