Stone tools are the least familiar objects that archaeologists recover from their excavations, and predictably, they struggle to understand them. Eastern Africa alone boasts a 3.4 million-year-long archaeological record but its stone tool evidence still remains disorganized, unsynthesized, and all-but-impenetrable to non-experts, and especially so to students from Eastern African countries. In Prehistoric Stone Tools of Eastern Africa, John Shea offers a simple, straightforward, and richly illustrated introduction in how to read stone tools. An experienced stone tool analyst and an expert stoneworker, he synthesizes the Eastern African stone tool evidence for the first time. Shea presents the EAST Typology, a new framework for describing stone tools specifically designed to allow archaeologist to do what they currently cannot: compare stone tool evidence across the full sweep of Eastern African prehistory. He also includes a series of short, fictional , and humorous vignettes set on an Eastern African archaeological excavation, which illustrate the major issues and controversies in research about stone tools.
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. Percurssors and groundstone artifacts
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