1907 Harrison Eolith Dawn Stone tool

1907 Harrison Eolith Dawn Stone tool

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Eolith sketches by Benjamin Harrison, an amateur naturalist and archaeologist, the foremost advocate of "dawn stones" as being the first stone tools. They were collected in Kent in 1885 (the name "eolith" coined in 1892 by J. Allen Browne). Harrison's discoveries were published in 1891 by Sir Joseph Prestwich (the co-proposer of human antiquity in 1859), and eoliths were generally accepted to have been crudely made tools from the Pliocene. After that their discovery at a site was taken to be evidence of human occupation. The English finds helped to secure acceptance of the hoax Piltdown man. But eventually some wondered if they were all the result of a natural processes of erosion. Marcellin Boule argued so in 1905 and Samuel Hazzeldine Warren conducted experiments that showed they could be naturally produced by erosive forces. Now there is general concensus these are not man-made tools.

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Keywords: ancestor, archaeology, archeology, benjamin, biface, dawn, eolith, error, flint, handaxe, harrison, human, joseph, mistake, palaeolithic, paleolithic, pliocene, prestwich, stone, tool, wrong

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