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Prehistoric Stone Tools of Eastern Africa


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Stone tools: essential terms and concepts; 3. How to read stone tools; 4. Eastern Africa; 5. The Eastern African lithic record; 6. Cores and tools; 7. Flakes/detached pieces; 8. Retouched pieces; 9. Percussors and groundstone artifacts; 10. Conclusion.

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A detailed overview of the Eastern African stone tools that make up the world's longest archaeological record.

About the Author

John J. Shea is Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, New York. He is the author of Stone Tools in Human Evolution (Cambridge, 2016) and Stone Tools in the Paleolithic and Neolithic of the Near East: A Guide (Cambridge, 2012).


'… the typology presented here is far-reaching and covers a vast chronological and geographic span. For students, this book presents a very good overview of East African prehistory focused on the stone tool record and the basics of lithic technology, as well as providing a new means by which to approach lithic assemblages. For new and established researchers this book prompts us to question why we study lithics, what information can be gained from them and how can we develop, as a discipline, our methodologies so as to address the big questions of palaeoanthropology and human behaviour.' Tomos Proffitt, Journal of African Archaeology

'… Shea is unquestionably one of the most experienced lithic knappers and analysts currently working in Africa. This guide is therefore a sound reference book for students looking to acquire the basics of lithic analysis and East African prehistory …' Katja Douze, African Archaeological Review

'With authority, clarity, and often his characteristic wit, Shea expertly presents the breadth of Eastern African lithic archaeology, providing the first thorough review of the region in more than half a century (Cole, 1954). This work lives up to its name and is likely to become standard reading and reference for students interested in not only Eastern Africa, but stone tool technology more broadly.' Evan Patrick Wilson, Lithic Technology

'The book is explicitly intended for students. It is nonetheless highly recommended to all lithic analysts working in eastern Africa (or indeed any other part of the continent) as a reference and teaching manual.' Steven T. Goldstein, Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa

'Impressively, this guide offers … one of the most comprehensive syntheses of Eastern African stone tool evidence to date … This guide, and the associated EAST Typology, is a welcome addition to the reading list of any student or professional interested in African archeology. The style, content and nature of the book is ideally pitched as an introduction for those with little to no prior knowledge of the Eastern African stone tool record, providing helpful guidance, clear illustrations and detailed descriptions. Its extensive coverage of Eastern African stone tool evidence is outstanding but not overwhelming for beginners due to its simple and straightforward language. The EAST Typology is an easy to-use yet comprehensive mode-based system that could be easily adopted by students and professionals alike.' Lucy Timbrell, Evolutionary Anthropology

'… the book will prove a useful reference for decades to come.' Christian A. Tryon, American Antiquity

'Shea's book [offers] profound insights by which we can improve the archaeological enterprise in China and East Asia.' Yongxian Wang, Asian Archaeology

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