Parting the Late Pleistocene Red Sea : An Introduction to the Session and Region

Author(s): Steven Brandt; Huw Groucutt; Yonatan Sahle

Year: 2016


The Late Pleistocene dispersal of Homo sapiens and “modern human behaviour” through and out of Africa has become a key issue in human evolutionary studies, largely as a result of intensive archaeological research in southern, and to a lesser extent east and northern Africa. In spite of its remarkably diverse environments, earliest Homo sapiens fossils and strategic location straddling the postulated “Northern” and “Southern” dispersal routes, the Horn of Africa (Djibouti/Eritrea/Ethiopia/Somalia) has contributed little to understanding how, where, when and why Late Pleistocene hunter-gather groups left (and returned to) Africa. Arabia has also suffered from a dearth of archaeological research, in spite of a postulated major conduit (and barrier) to Late Pleistocene Homo sapiens movements from Africa into Eurasia. Recent surveys/excavations have dramatically altered the region’s Late Pleistocene archaeological map, and have revealed extensive and surprisingly diverse MSA-LSA/MP-UP lithic assemblages. Here we provide an introduction to the region and major theoretical/methodological issues the session draws upon to study this lithic variability as a means of reconstructing Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer dispersals and demographic changes. We conclude by using lithic variability at Mochena Borago rockshelter to test a theory that SW Ethiopia was a major environmental/social refugium during OIS 4~72-59 ka.

Cite this Record

Parting the Late Pleistocene Red Sea : An Introduction to the Session and Region. Steven Brandt, Huw Groucutt, Yonatan Sahle. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404090)


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Spatial Coverage

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