Chopper (Tanzania), 1.85 million years old
This is a Chopper.
Tools crafted and used by our human ancestors appear in the prehistoric record dating back at least 2.6 million years; the earliest tools were made of stone. This simply altered stone, called a "chopper", from the famed archeological site Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, is around 1.85 million years old. The discovery of such artifacts at Olduvai Gorge gave the name to the world’s oldest Stone Age technology, the Oldowan. Choppers were made using a hammerstone to knap, that is, repeatedly striking off sharp, useful flakes along an edge. The stone is a volcanic rock called nephelinite, from a lava flow south of Olduvai. This basic technology, which produced tools for cutting, pounding, and crushing, enabled humans to obtain new foods and increase the amount of meat, tubers, and roots in their diet.
It is credited
Department of Archaeology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Control number: 2065648, Field number: I-EgMK.
Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 7.6 x 8 x 6 cm (3 in. x 3 1/8 in. x 2 3/8 in.)
Learn how to discriminate between ancient stone tools and regular rocks with Paleoanthropologist John Shea.
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.