Olduvai Chopper

Olduvai Chopper
Exhibit item
1.8 million years old
Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Oldowan stone chopper

Early humans in East Africa used hammerstones to strike stone cores and produce sharp flakes. They used these stone tools for a variety of purposes, including extracting meat and bone marrow from large animals. Flakes were removed from the stone core, creating a sharp edge. Imagine using it to chop through the shoulder of an antelope.

This early stone age chopper is the oldest human-made artifact in the Smithsonian's collections. 

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