Extensive Surveys of Chimpanzee Stone Tools: From the Telescope to the Magnifying Glass

  • Susana Carvalho
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


Surveys are procedures used to find and evaluate sites that may contain remnants of material cultures. The surface survey, a detailed prospection through field walking, is one of the essential techniques, indispensable when research is to begin in any unstudied environment. However, with few exceptions, surveys have not been extended to tropical rainforests. Since 2006, archeological surveys have been done in Bossou and Diécké forests at sites used by nonhuman primates with concentrations of stone tools currently in use to crack nuts. This work required the combination of direct and indirect methods for investigating individual behavior and, to explore, with reference to early hominins, issues of diversity and regionalism and the emergence of culture. Archeology examines temporal and spatial variables with accuracy comparable to that of a telescope, whereas this etho-archeological approach functions here like a magnifying glass. I was able to record the objects without interfering with the tool-users and to collect data on several sequences that are repeated over time. Archeological methods and equipment need to take in consideration two variables: (1) areas of activity to be recorded are still in use, that is, not abandoned; (2) tool-users may enter the site during data collection. Here we report the results concerning the spatial analyses of monitored nut-cracking sites and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of this interdisciplinary approach.


Coarse Grained Tropical Rainforest Stone Tool Tool Movement Last Common Ancestor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank the Direction National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique, République de Guinée, and Dr. Kourouma Makan, Director of the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou for permission to conduct field work at Diécké. I would also like to thank Dr. Papa Cecé Condé from the Centre Forestier de N’Zérékoré, Prof. Tetsuro Matsuzawa and Dr. Werner Grimmelman (Progerfor) for support and materials. The research was supported by Grants-in-Aid for scientific research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture of Japan: MEXT-16002001, JSPS-HOPE, JSPS-21COE-Kyoto-Biodiversity, and F-06-61 of the Ministry of Environment, Japan, to Tetsuro Matsuzawa. S.C. was supported by Municipality of Leiria, Portugal; Cambridge European Trust (RIB 00107), FCT-Portugal (SFRH/BD/36169/2007), Research Centre for Anthropology and Health (CIAS – University of Coimbra), The Wenner-Gren Foundation, Queens College Cambridge, and the Leakey Trust (UK). I am grateful to B. Zogbila, H. Gbéregbé, J. Doré, P. Goumy, M. Doré, C. Goumy, J.M. Kolié, J. Malamu, L. Tokpa, A. Kbokmo, C. Koti, and O. Mamy for field support. I am also grateful to C. Sousa for guidance during the beginning of the 2006 research; to L. Pinela (GIS configuration and training); and to P. Gonçalves for unconditional support. I thank P. Kelmendi and V. Carvalho for fruitful discussions and S. Koski, T. Humle, and W.C. McGrew for comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, Department of Biological AnthropologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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