Oldowan chopper tool from Somaliland ; 1.7-2.6 million years ago; 1932.6240




Oldowan chopper tool from Somaliland

About this object

A rounded sandstone pebble, worked bifacially along one side to create a cutting or chopping edge. The technology belongs to the Oldowan industry , which produced the oldest forms of human stone tools known. The earliest tools date from more than 3,300,000 years ago, but this one is more likely to be between 2,600,000 and 1,700,000 years old as it was found on a site of this date.
The material is a siliceous sandstone, with large pieces of mostly clear quartz (<4.9 mm long) embedded in a pinkish sand matrix. This material was commonly used for Lower Palaeolithic tools in Somaliland. A darker, more weathered patch on one side, with few visible quartz inclusions is probably a surviving part of the outer face of the original pebble from which the tool was struck.
The tool provides a rough cutting edge along one side, together with a point (now broken). The other two sides are more rounded in profile, allowing it to be held comfortably in the palm of the hand. The form corresponds to an Oldowan chopper type, with bifacial working over much of the surface. A minimum of fourteen flakes have been removed to make the tool.
The tool was collected and published by Heywood Seton-Karr (1859-1938), a soldier, explorer and big game hunter who, as an amateur archaeologist, discovered the African Palaeolithic. He collected this tool from a hill at Issutugan in the former British Somaliland (now Somalia).
A blog post about this object.

Date Made

1.7-2.6 million years ago


Lower Palaeolithic (750,000-150,000 BC)

Medium and Materials

Stone | Lithic


92.54 × 61.30 × 38.48 mm


Letchworth Museum

Credit Line

Heywood Seton-Karr

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from

NHerts   NHerts



Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.


eHive copyright disclaimer

It is the responsibility of the eHive Account Holder to gain copyright clearance for any images or content published on eHive. If you are concerned about the copyright status for any content in eHive or would like more information on using or ordering copies of content, please contact the Account Holder of that content. For further information see our Copyright Claims page.