54 research outputs found

    Bed II Sequence Stratigraphic context of EF-HR and HWK EE archaeological sites, and the Oldowan/Acheulean succession at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

    Get PDF
    Archaeological excavations at EF-HR and HWK EE allow reassessment of Bed II stratigraphy within the Junction Area and eastern Olduvai Gorge. Application of Sequence Stratigraphic methods provides a time-stratigraphic framework enabling correlation of sedimentary units across facies boundaries, applicable even in those areas where conventional timelines, such as tephrostratigraphic markers, are absent, eroded, or reworked. Sequence Stratigraphically, Bed II subdivides into five major Sequences 1 to 5, all floored by major disconformities that incise deeply into the underlying succession, proving that simple "layer cake" stratigraphy is inappropriate. Previous establishment of the Lemuta Member has invalidated the use of Tuff IIA as the boundary between Lower and Middle Bed II, now redefined at the disconformity between Sequences 2 and 3, a lithostratigraphic contact underlying the succession containing the Lower, Middle, and Upper Augitic Sandstones. HWK EE site records Oldowan technology in the Lower Augitic Sandstone at the base of Sequence 3, within Middle Bed II. We suggest placement of recently reported Acheulean levels at FLK W within the Middle Augitic Sandstone, thus emphasizing that handaxes are yet to be found in earlier stratigraphic units of the Olduvai sequence. This would place a boundary between the Oldowan and Acheulean technologies at Olduvai in the Tuff IIB zone or earliest Middle Augitic Sandstone. A major disconformity between Sequences 3 and 4 at and near EF-HR cuts through the level of Tuff IIC, placing the main Acheulean EF-HR assemblage at the base of Sequence 4, within Upper rather than Middle Bed II. Sequence stratigraphic methods also yield a more highly resolved Bed II stratigraphic framework. Backwall and sidewall surveying of archaeological trenches at EF-HR and HWK EE permits definition of “Lake-parasequences” nested within the major Sequences that record downcutting of disconformities associated with lake regression, then sedimentation associated with lake transgression, capped finally by another erosional disconformity or hiatal paraconformity caused by the next lake withdrawal. On a relative time-scale rather than a vertical metre scale, the resulting Wheeler diagram framework provides a basis for recognizing time-equivalent depositional episodes and the position of time gaps at various scales. Relative timing of archaeological assemblage levels can then be differentiated at a millennial scale within this framework

    The contexts and early Acheulean archaeology of the EF-HR paleo-landscape (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania)

    Get PDF
    Renewed fieldwork at the early Acheulean site of EF-HR (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania) has included detailed stratigraphic studies of the sequence, extended excavations in the main site, and has placed eleven additional trenches within an area of nearly 1 km(2), to sample the same stratigraphic interval as in the main trench across the broader paleo-landscape. Our new stratigraphic work suggests that EF-HR is positioned higher in the Bed II sequence than previously proposed, which has implications for the age of the site and its stratigraphic correlation to other Olduvai Middle Bed II sites. Geological research shows that the main EF-HR site was situated at the deepest part of an incised valley formed through river erosion. Archaeological excavations at the main site and nearby trenches have unearthed a large new assemblage, with more than 3000 fossils and artefacts, including a hundred handaxes in stratigraphic position. In addition, our test-trenching approach has detected conspicuous differences in the density of artefacts across the landscape, with a large cluster of archaeological material in and around the main trench, and less intense human activity at the same level in the more distant satellite trenches. All of these aspects are discussed in this paper in the light of site formation processes, behavioral contexts, and their implications for our understanding of the early Acheulean at Olduvai Gorge

    New excavations at the HWK EE site: Archaeology, paleoenvironment and site formation processes during late Oldowan times at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

    Get PDF
    This paper reports the results of renewed fieldwork at the HWK EE site (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania). HWK EE is positioned across the boundary between Lower and Middle Bed II, a crucial interval for studying the emergence of the Acheulean at Olduvai Gorge. Our excavations at HWK EE have produced one of the largest collections of fossils and artefacts from any Oldowan site, distributed across several archaeological units and a large excavation surface in four separate trenches that can be stratigraphically correlated. Here we present the main stratigraphic and archaeological units and discuss site formation processes. Results show a great density of fossils and stone tools vertically through two stratigraphic intervals (Lemuta and Lower Augitic Sandstone) and laterally across an area of around 300 m2, and highlight the confluence of biotic and abiotic agents in the formation of the assemblage. The large size and diversity of the assemblage, as well as its good preservation, qualify HWK EE as a reference site for the study of the late Oldowan at Olduvai Gorge and elsewhere in Africa. In addition, the description of the stratigraphic and archaeological sequence of HWK EE presented in this paper constitutes the foundation for further studies on hominin behavior and paleoecology in Lower and Middle Bed II

    The southwest Indian Ocean Bathymetric Compilation (swIOBC)

    Get PDF
    We present a comprehensive regional bathymetric data compilation for the southwest Indian Ocean (swIOBC) covering the area from 4°S to 40°S and 20°E to 45°E with a spatial resolution of 250 m. For this, we used multibeam and singlebeam data as well as data from global bathymetric data compilations. We generated the swIOBC using an iterative approach of manual data cleaning and gridding, accounting for different data qualities and seamless integration of all different kinds of data. In comparison to existing bathymetric charts of this region, the new swIOBC benefits from nearly four times as many data-constrained grid cells and a higher resolution, and thus reveals formerly unseen seabed features. In the central Mozambique Basin a surprising variety of landscapes were discovered. They document a deep reaching influence of the Mozambique Current eddies. Details of the N-S trending Zambezi Channel could be imaged in the central Mozambique Basin. Maps are crucial not only for orientation but also to set scientific processes and local information in a spatial context. For most parts of the ocean seafloor, maps are derived from satellite data with only kilometer resolution. Acoustic depth measurements from ships provide more detailed seafloor information in tens to hundreds of meters resolution. For the southwest Indian Ocean, all available depth soundings from a variety of sources and institutes are combined in one coherent map. Thus, in areas where depth soundings exist, this map shows the seafloor in so-far unknown detail. This detailed map forms the base for subsequent studies of e.g. the direction of ocean currents, geological and biological processes in the southwest Indian Ocean

    Karoo magmatism in Southern Africa : links to geodynamics and sealevel

    No full text

    Lava-sediment interaction in desert settings; are all peperite-like textures the result of magma-water interaction?

    No full text
    This study reports on lava–sediment interaction in dry depositional settings focusing on the Early Cretaceous volcano-sedimentary sequence in the Huab Basin, NW Namibia, as a detailed example. Here an active aeolian sand sea (erg) system was progressively engulfed by lavas of the Etendeka Flood Basalt Province 133 Ma BP. This volcanic flooding resulted in: (1) the unprecedented preservation of large parts of the active dune system; (2) the development of a variety of sediment interlayers; and (3) a record of excellent examples of the dynamic interaction between lava and aeolian sand. The lava–sediment interaction happens on a variety of scales from simple sediment interbeds within the lavas at a large scale down to complex breccia horizons and bulbous lava–sediment contacts at small scales. ‘Peperite’ like textures are found where hot lava has dynamically interacted with unconsolidated aeolian sands. Such interaction could involve lava cascading down the front of dune faces, or active ‘aa’ style flow fronts ‘bulldozing’ into and oversteepening dune faces causing rapid influx of sand into the active flow front. Resulting breccia horizons have been found up to 5 m thick. Locally, the aeolian sand is baked to a quartzite by the hot lava. In contrast, on other surfaces, the lava leaves striations in the sand as it flows across it indicating local flow directions and less pronounced interaction. In places, wind ripples and topset beds are preserved on the stoss side of the dune indicating the passive nature of emplacement for some of the lava flows. Peperites are often thought to form due to the presence of water within the unconsolidated sediments that the juvenile magma comes into contact with. However, examples from arid environments demonstrate that peperite-forming processes are diverse and may not always require water. Therefore, it is suggested that the term peperite should be used to describe deposits consisting of sediments mixed with juvenile magmatic components where it is clear that there has been a dynamic interaction between the two. This leaves the presence, or lack, of water as an issue for interpreting the processes by which the peperite formed
    corecore