Book cover image of The Cutting Edge

The Oldowan: Case Studies into the Earliest Stone Age, 2006 (340 pages)
Edited by Nicholas Toth and Kathy Schick

The earliest traces of proto-human technology emerged over 2.5 million years ago on the African continent. Called the Oldowan after the famous site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, these technologies herald a major evolutionary shift in the human lineage. The Oldowan: Case Studies into the Earliest Stone Age provides a critical look at early archaeological sites and their evidence. This volume also shows how a range of probing, multidisciplinary, experimental investigations -- including experimental tool-making, comparative studies of ape technologies, biomechanical analysis, and PET studies of brain activity -- help us evaluate this tantalizing prehistoric evidence and appreciate its relevance to human evolution.

This beautifully illustrated hard bound volume may be purchased through Amazon or through David Brown Book Co.

The Oldowan is now available for download:

Download the book as a single complete pdf:
The Oldowan Complete PDF (4.4 MB)

Or download selected chapter pdf's:
Introductions and Table of Contents
Chapter 1: An Overview of the Oldowan Industrial Complex: The sites and the nature of their evidence (Kathy Schick & Nicholas Toth)
Chapter 2: The Oldest Stone Artifacts from Gona (2.6-2.5Mya, Afar, Ethiopia: Implications for understanding the earliest stages of stone knapping (Sileshi Semaw)
Chapter 3: The North African Early Stone Age and the Sites at Ain Hanech, Algeria (Mohamed Sahnouni)
Chapter 4: The Acquisition and Use of Large Mammal Carcasses by Oldowan Hominins in Eastern and Southern Africa: A Selected Review and Assessment (Travis Rayne Pickering & Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo)
Chapter 5: After the African Oldowan: The Earliest Technologies of Europe (Fernando Diez-Martín)
Chapter 6: A Comparative Study of the Stone Tool-making Skills Pan, Australopithecus, and Homo sapiens (Nicholas Toth, Kathy Schick, and Sileshi Semaw)
Chapter 7: Rules and Tools: Beyond Anthropomorphism (Sue Savage-Rumbaugh & William Mintz Fields)
Chapter 8: Sex Differences in Chimpanzee Foraging Behavior and Tool Use: Implications for the Oldowan (Kevin Hunt)
Chapter 9: Oldowan Toolmaking and Hominin Brain Evolution: Theory and research using positron emission tomography (PET) (Dietrich Stout)
Chapter 10: Knapping Skill of the Earliest Stone Toomakers: Insights from the study of modern human novices (Dietrich Stout & Sileshi Semaw)
Chapter 11: Comparing the Neural Foundations of Oldowan and Acheulean Toolmaking: A pilot study using positron emission tomography (PET) (Dietrich Stout, Nicholas Toth, and Kathy Schick)
Chapter 12: The Biomechanics of the Arm Swing in Oldowan Stone Flaking (Jesus Dapena, William J. Anderst, and Nicholas P. Toth)