Home bases and Early hominids



“Home Bases and Early Hominids” is an article that looks at the earlier studies
that suggests early hominids living in home bases and the new studies that may suggest different.
The first archaeological sites from the Late Pliocene to the Lower Pliocene represented home bases suggesting that early hominids shifted their way of life to a way of life like present hunter and gathers (Potts, 338). However recent studies done from Olduvai Gorge suggests there are possible differences from early hominid to modern hunter and gathers. These differences have a significant meaning in the evolution of the hunting and gathering way of life.
An archaeological site from the Paleolithic is usually defined by a concentration of stone artifacts (Potts, 338). Henri Martin and Davidson Black, tried to infer hominid behavior and ecology from the ancient archaeological remains and assumed that the association of fossil animal bones with stone tools was an important source of information about hominid activities (Potts, 338).
In the nineteen sixties early archaeological sites and the study of hominid activities was much more widely acknowledged. The archaeological remains at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania at Koobi Fora in Kenya, and in the Omo Valley of southern Ethiopia were about four times older than sites previously known. The time range of stone tool was pushed back greatly from five hundred thousand years to two million years. This brought about the very important question that every one was wondering how did these humans live? They wonder did these humans hunt and gather or live by foraging like present day baboons on the savanna.
The link between early archaeological sites and hominid activities has been investigated in depth at Olduvai Gorge and Koobi For a (Potts, 338). Pott’s research has focused on six stratigraphic levels at Olduvai, excavated by Leakey. Most of bones uncovered from these sites were broken some into small pieces before they were buried and fossilized. A wide diversity of species were represented: zebra, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, antelopes, pigs, giraffes, elephants, primates, and, carnivores (Potts, 339). Some aquatic animals and other small vertebrates were presented but the antelope are most abundant in the fossils. Five to ten species are identifiable in the bones from each level.
Tools were also found such as stream cobbles and other pieces of rocks that were flaked repeatedly but in a crude way. The most abundant type of artifact at each site is debitage. These flakes seamed to be used but not intentionally made to be used. Finally each site contained stone pieces of stone raw material, which exhibit no evident traces of flaking or use.
Isaac has recently suggested that the first interpretations of these early archaeological sites relied on observation of modern hunter-gathers (Potts, 339). As far as it is known all hunter-gathers do their activities around a campsite or home bases. As Potts describes debris builds up in well-defined places through out the habitat leaving behind stone artifacts and animal bones in clusters. Paleolithic archaeologists have drawn an analogy between modern day hunter-gathers and the remains from humans of earlier times.
The concept of home base and the activities connotes have been important in the interpretation of the earliest archaeological sites. In particular sites such as Bed one at Olduvai it is widely recognized to provide evidence for the existence of home bases during the Plio-Pleistocene. This implies that a hunter – gathering way of life has existed during ninety-nine percent of human history since the beginning of stone tool making (Potts, 340). This concept has two important aspects in paleoanthropology, one the sharing of food and two the safety offered from a protected base camp.
The home base would have been in a specific location and this would allow foragers to carry food. Also members of the social group would prepare and consume food there as well as, sleep, make tools, and meet with other group members. Reciprocity is a characteristic of human societies to which anthropologists attach great importance, this sharing of food by some to be a crucial expression, and perhaps the earliest one, of human reciprocity (Potts, 340). However others say that hunter-gathers eat their food while foraging and the extent of food sharing at these campsites is unclear, but it is known that in