Introduction: Current Issues in Oldowan Research

David R. Braun*, Erella Hovers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The Oldowan industry represents the oldest known manifestation of material culture. The expression of these earliest tools is marked by its diversity. Here we review various approaches to this material. In particular we focus on how the history of research on these industries has changed dramatically from the earliest investigations in East Africa through the last thirty years and finally we describe the approaches found in the volume. This volume is distinct in its incorporation of many industries that would not classically be considered Oldowan, and subsequently provides a unique perspective on early stone tool manufacture and use. In particular the conceptual framework around the evolution of different technical skills provides a major theoretical step in constructing models of early hominin behavioral evolution. Although this chapter reviews the material found in each of the chapters of this volume it does not reiterate the information found in these chapters. Rather we provide a conceptual perspective for the various themes that link the contributions together. We identify the challenges for future Oldowan research. We see the synthesis of different schools of thought in the study of Oldowan stone artifacts as one of the most important contributions that future work can make for the study of the earliest technologies.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary approaches to the Oldowan
EditorsDavid R Braun, Erella Hovers
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)1282037986, 1402090595, 1402090609, 9786612037986
ISBN (Print)9781402090592
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
ISSN (Print)1877-9077

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Cultural evolution
  • Decision-making
  • Ecological adaptation
  • Lithic technology
  • Raw material


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