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Abbevillian is a currently obsolescent name for a tool tradition that is increasingly coming to be called Oldowan.

The label Abbevillian prevailed until the Leakey family discovered older (yet similar) artifacts at Olduvai Gorge (a.k.a.

The different traditions may have been used by different species of hominins living in the same area, or multiple techniques may have been used by an individual species in response to different circumstances.

Sometime before 1.8 mya Homo erectus had spread outside of Africa, reaching as far east as Java by 1.8 mya In these newly colonised areas, no Acheulean assemblages have been found.

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At 1.7 mya., the first Acheulean tools appear even as Oldowan assemblages continue to be produced.An example is Isaac et al.'s tri-modal categories of "Flaked Pieces" (cores/choppers), "Detached Pieces" (flakes and fragments), "Pounded Pieces" (cobbles utilized as hammerstones, etc.) and "Unmodified Pieces" (manuports, stones transported to sites). Early Homo erectus appears to inherit Oldowan technology and refines it into the Acheulean industry beginning 1.7 million years ago.and its flourishing with early species of Homo such as H. Oldowan stone tools are simply the oldest recognisable tools which have been preserved in the archaeological record.Classification of Oldowan tools is still somewhat contentious.Mary Leakey was the first to create a system to classify Oldowan assemblages, and built her system based on prescribed use.The term Oldowan is taken from the site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where the first Oldowan lithics were discovered by the archaeologist Louis Leakey in the 1930s.

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