Unlocking the secrets from earlier hominin technology
Dr Rosa Moll
Thu, 16/05/2024 - 09:45

Displays of stone tools from the remote past in museums are usually pretty dull affairs. Museum staff may try hard to make them interesting, but it is difficult work to get beyond a chronological line-up of tool types, with maybe a bit of information on the hominins that made them thrown in to try to give life to the contexts in which they were made and used.
In her lively presentation, Dr Moll gave us a quite different picture. As a post-doctoral researcher at Wits University who specializes in the Earlier and Middle Stone Age of South Africa and Tanzania, she was well qualified to talk on the subject, and her passion for her research area was evident. She focused largely on the Earlier Stone Age stone tool sequence from 3.3 million years ago, when, on present evidence, the earliest stone tools were produced.
Dr Moll provided clear insight into how stone tool industries and technocomplexes are named and defined, and also what they meant in the evolution of hominins. Important in this is an understanding of the cognitive and physical competencies needed for different reduction and retouch strategies. This was well explained, with images of examples shown throughout the talk with fact and humour.