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Variability in the Middle Stone Age of the Horn of Africa: a technical tradition of southeastern Ethiopia

Author(s): Alice LEPLONGEON ; Erella Hovers ; David Pleurdeau

Year: 2016

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The Middle Stone Age (MSA) is traditionally defined by flake, point and elongated blank production associated with retouched tools (e.g. scrapers and retouched points). However, a great cultural variability is observed, whether it is linked with spatial (e.g. Brandt 1986, Clark 1988), or temporal (Early vs Late MSA, e.g. Douze 2011) variability. Here we present results from a comparative analysis of the lithic assemblages from Porc-Epic Cave (e.g. Clark and Williamson 1984, Pleurdeau, 2005) and Goda Buticha (Assefa et al. 2014, Leplongeon 2014, Pleurdeau et al. 2014, Tribolo et al. In prep.), both located in southeastern Ethiopia. They have yielded long stratigraphic sequences including Late Pleistocene levels. The results highlight variability at the assemblage level, counterbalanced by similarities between the assemblages, which were interpreted as reflecting the same technical tradition, atributed to the MSA. It is however distinct from other MSA industries and represents another example of the lithic variability in the region. Moreover, a mid-Holocene level at Goda Buticha has yielded an assemblage with unexpected MSA-like features, questioning the relevance of the use of this terminology (MSA/LSA) in the region. This high lithic variability during the Late Pleistocene has implications when comparing the Horn of Africa with adjacent regions.

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Variability in the Middle Stone Age of the Horn of Africa: a technical tradition of southeastern Ethiopia. Alice LEPLONGEON, Erella Hovers, David Pleurdeau. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404097)


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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