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Early Pleistocene Presence of Acheulian Hominins in South India

Science  25 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6024, pp. 1596-1599
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200183

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Abstract

South Asia is rich in Lower Paleolithic Acheulian sites. These have been attributed to the Middle Pleistocene on the basis of a small number of dates, with a few older but disputed age estimates. Here, we report new ages from the excavated site of Attirampakkam, where paleomagnetic measurements and direct 26Al/10Be burial dating of stone artifacts now position the earliest Acheulian levels as no younger than 1.07 million years ago (Ma), with a pooled average age of 1.51 ± 0.07 Ma. These results reveal that, during the Early Pleistocene, India was already occupied by hominins fully conversant with an Acheulian technology including handaxes and cleavers among other artifacts. This implies that a spread of bifacial technologies across Asia occurred earlier than previously accepted.

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