Late Pleistocene lithic technological patterns in East Africa


Genetic and fossil evidence suggest East Africa played a significant role in the origin and dispersal of modern humans. While studies of East African Middle Stone Age (MSA) assemblages exhibit apparent regional patterning, this is often based on industrial designations derived from presence/absence or frequency of specific forms. Regional comparisons of these assemblages are inhibited by differences in comparability, especially of raw material, reduction intensity, and inter-analyst variation. We test the hypothesis that East African MSA assemblages in central-north Tanzania exhibit more similarities to each other than to assemblages further north in the Rift Valley taking into account these inherent influences on technological variation. We collected morphological data on assemblages from Nasera Rock Shelter, Mumba Rock Shelter, Kisese II Rock Shelter, Prospect Farm, Koobi Fora, and Muguruk. Raw data were log-transformed and binned according to raw material and reduction intensity. Several independent analyses test differences within different domains of the reduction sequence (e.g. core exploitation and modification versus tool manufacture and retouch) (following Tostevin 2012). Patterns of variation were quantified using methods previously tested with actualistic experiments (Ranhorn et al 2014, 2015). This study has implications for the hypothesis that Late Pleistocene human populations had extensive cultural networks.

Cite this Record

Late Pleistocene lithic technological patterns in East Africa. Kathryn Ranhorn, David Braun, Christian Tryon, Alison Brooks. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404201)


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