November 24th 2019 from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm : seminar in Ethiopia
Seminar: Vertebrate faunas from the plio-pleistocene in the lower Omo Valley
Conference: Taphonomic Assessment of Vertebrate Faunas from the Plio-Pleistocene Shungura Deposits, Lower Omo Valley, South-Western Ethiopia
PhD Student in the laboratoiry PALEVOPRIM (Paleontology, evolution, paleoecosystems, paleoprimatology), university of Poitiers
The Shungura Formation in the Lower Omo Valley, SW Ethiopia has been the main source of late Cenozoic faunal assemblage and has influenced theories on human evolution and environmental changes during the Plio-Pleistocene. However, despite the long history of research and its paleoanthropological significance, taphonomic studies have been largely ignored. Taphonomic assessment on a subset of faunal assemblage from this important site provides new additional aspects on the behavioral ecology and assemblage history of the site. The study revealed the various taphonomic alterations involved during the site formation processes and presents the major agents that are relevant to hominid ecology and predation. Weathering and preservation conditions of the faunal collections were evaluated prior to bone surface modification (BSM) examinations. Characterization and quantifications of tooth marked specimens show crocodilian followed by mammalian carnivores were top bone modifiers in the Shungura Plio-Pleistocene landscape. Possible butchery marks were represented by cut marks and percussion pits on bone surfaces. The presence of high fragmentation consists both green fracture and post-depositional breakages. Various linear marks on bone surfaces were recorded on a large collection and represented high sediment abrasion/trampling, but also tooth scores and possible cut marks. Although preliminary results of this study confirm the great zooarchaeologucal potential of the site, investigation on the overall fauna collections will provide more information for the complete reconstruction of the taphonomic history and behavioral ecology of the Shungura Paleolandscape.
After a BA in Archaeology in Addis Ababa University, Blade Engda obtained an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to fullfill his Master in Quaternary and Prehistory. He is now PhD student in the University of Poitiers, and pursues his work on Vertebrate Faunas in South-Western Ethiopia.
PlAuthority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Meeting Hall (room 308), Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia.