The oldest stone tools dated back to 2.6 million years ago were discovered in the north eastern Ethiopia at a place called Ledi-Geraru.
The newly discovered artefacts are very distinct from tools made by Chimpanzees, monkeys and earlier human ancestors.
The new site discovered in the Afar region by team of international and local scientists dates back some 100 000 years before the then oldest flaked stone tools. The oldest evidence for systematic stone tool production and use was 2.58 to 2.55 million years ago.
Research Associate at Ledi-Geraru Project, Archaeologist David R. Braun told journalists on Tuesday, 4 June 2019, that they have discovered “the oldest stone artefacts in Ethiopia and possibly the second oldest stone artefacts in the world.”
“The pieces of chipped stones were made into tools by early humans 2.6 million years ago, which are 100 thousand years older than the materials discovered also in Ethiopia from Gona locality.” Braun stated.
He added that “even though the materials that we found are the second oldest stone artefacts found anywhere in the world, they have very little association with anything found at 3.3 million years ago.”
Braun further explained that “we had expected a defined and linear relationship going from 3.3 to 2.6, but in actual fact, what we found was a gap in a very different type of technology at 2.6, suggesting that early humans first initially made stone artefacts at 3.3 and may never made them again for another 500 thousand years ago until 2.6.”
According to him, there is no connection between the stone tools made at 2.6 and 3.3 million years in terms of technology.
The tools are the oldest artefacts ascribed to the “Oldowan” – a technology originally named after findings from Olduvai George in Tanzania.
Mulugeta Fisseha Director-General of Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage told journalists that Ethiopia is contributing a lot to science and studies on human evolution, referring to current and previous discovery.
Ethiopian archaeologists were integrated, and students participated in the project, which he said the unique part of this five years archaeological discoveries.
“With caution, the area can serve as an attraction for the international community, including scientists in the field and could be used as an open-air field school” he said.
The 3.3 million years old stone artefacts found in Kenya are the first direct evidence that early human ancestors used stone tools, while the 2.6 million years flaked stones shows that human ancestors became more accurate and skilled at striking the age of stones to make tools.