Archaeology found in Konso formation in southern Ethiopia a unique artifact – a bone axe made by Homo Erectus. Despite the fact that this tool was widely used 1-2 million years ago, all found before the samples were only stone. Until this discovery was known only one axe made from the bones of an elephant found at Olduvai gorge in Tanzania. And now there are two, but both are very different.
An archaeologist from the University of Tohoku (Japan) Kazuhiro Sano likened the discovery with the bones of known large animals and came to the conclusion that the source material was the femur of a Hippo. In those days, this area of Ethiopia was a “quilt the swamp”, with large amounts of clean water and meadows – a Paradise for hippos. And volcanic activity in the region from age to age changed the topography of the area and has closed access to H. Erectus to deposits of good stone.
It is very interesting that the axe made on the technology of the Acheulean culture, which is ill-suited to handle the bones, but allows you to form a long cutting edge. Initially, the master cut off from harvesting a large piece of suitable shape, and then a series of light strikes the pinned layer by layer to form the working part of the axe. We finds it with a length of about 5 cm and has obvious signs of wear, typical for butchering animals. Likely, the axe was owned by a skilled hunter who was very proud of its light and sharp tool.
At the same time on the axe are no traces of heavy blows, which bone could not stand, it was not used for rough work. That is, the Creator of the axe are well versed in the properties of the material understand the difference between sharpness and thinness of the blade and durability of the tool. Maybe the axe from the bones of the hippopotamus was made as experimental, or is one of the few successful examples that other artists copy failed.