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Micromorphology of Middle to Later Stone Age sites at Mwanganda's Village, northern Malawi

Author(s): Susan Mentzer ; Flora Schilt ; Jessica Thompson ; David Wright ; Elizabeth Gomani-Chindebvu

Year: 2015

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The Mwanganda's Village site, northern Malawi, was first excavated in 1965-1966 under the direction of J. D. Clark, who reported the recovery of early Middle Stone Age (MSA) stone tools in possible association with the remains of an elephant. New work in 2009-2012 revealed that the elephant and the artifacts were not likely to have been behaviorally associated. The site lies within a series of river terraces dating from the Middle Pleistocene to the Holocene. Near the top of the sequence an in situ Middle to Later Stone Age deposit dates to before and during the Last Glacial Maximum, providing an opportunity to examine human behavior in light of changing paleoenvironmental conditions.

Micromorphological analyis is employed to reconstruct a detailed site formation history of the sequence at Mwanganda's Village. Post-depositional features observed in thin section are especially informative about the paleoenvironment, as they are associated with ancient water tables and soil formation.

Data from sediment cores collected in Lake Malawi indicate a series of megadroughts during the Late Pleistocene. The association of terminal MSA artefacts with depositional and post-depositional features linked with riparian environments underlies an emerging pattern of evidence for wetland adaptation during the MSA in central Africa.

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Micromorphology of Middle to Later Stone Age sites at Mwanganda's Village, northern Malawi. Flora Schilt, Susan Mentzer, David Wright, Jessica Thompson, Elizabeth Gomani-Chindebvu. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398001)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America