Middle Stone Age populations consistently inhabited West African coast


IMAGE: A Levallois core recuperated from excavations at Tiémassas, part of a typical, consistent suite of stone tool innovations used at the website in between 62-25 thousand years earlier
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Credit: K. Niang

Although shorelines have actually extensively been proposed as possible passages of previous migration, the profession of Africa’s tropical coasts throughout the Stone Age is badly understood, especially in contrast to the temperate coasts of northern and southern Africa. Current research studies in eastern Africa have actually started to fix this, detailing vibrant behavioural modifications near the coast of Kenya throughout the last glacial stage, however research studies of Stone Age professions along western Africa’s coasts are still doing not have.

In the last few years, anthropological research study has actually started to examine the relationship in between market variety and patterns of behavioural modification. A series of hereditary and palaeoanthropological research studies have actually started to highlight the substantial market variety present in West Africa in the current past, however historical research studies of Stone Age websites are still required to comprehend how this variety associates with patterns of behaviour displayed in the historical record.

” There are a lot of surface area websites that have actually shown the wealth of Stone Age archaeology in West Africa,” states Jimbob Blinkhorn of MPI-SHH, “however to characterise patterns of altering behaviour, we require big, excavated stone tool assemblages that we can plainly date to particular durations.”

Tiémassas is a Stone Age website with a significant history of research study, consisting of surface area studies and early excavations in the mid-20th century, however the absence of methodical research study indicated it was bogged down in debate.

” In the past, Tiémassas has actually been referred to as a Middle Stone Age, Later On Stone Age or Neolithic website, and fixing in between these options has essential ramifications for our understanding of behaviour at the website,” states lead author Khady Niang of Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. “We have actually examined formerly gathered product from the website, performed brand-new excavations and analysis of stone tools and integrated this with dating research studies that make Tiémassas a benchmark example of the Middle Stone Age of West Africa.”

Previous research study by the group dated a Middle Stone Age profession at Tiémassas to 45 thousand years earlier. The brand-new research study extends the timeframe of professions at the website, with more stone tool assemblages recuperated dating to 62 thousand and 25 thousand years earlier. Seriously, these stone tool assemblages consist of highly unique types that assist to characterise the nature of stone tool production throughout each profession stage.

” The Middle Stone Age residents of Tiémassas used 2 unique innovations – centripetal Levallois and discoidal decrease systems,” states Niang. “What is actually noteworthy is that the stone tool assemblages are actually constant with one another and form a pattern we can compare with the outcomes of earlier excavations too. Gathered, the website informs a clear story of shocking technological connection for almost 40 thousand years.”

The outcomes of this brand-new research study at Tiémassas combine the sporadic record of Middle Stone Age professions of West Africa. Yet, the website’s place stands out from others dated to the Middle Stone Age in the area as it lies near the coast and at the user interface of 3 ecozones: savannahs, forests and mangroves.

” Our brand-new work at Tiémassas provides a cool contrast to current deal with seaside professions in eastern Africa. They cover approximately the exact same timeframe, have comparable eco-friendly qualities, and are discovered along tropical coasts,” states Blinkhorn. “However the connection in behaviour we see at Tiémassas stands in plain contrast to the technological modifications observed in eastern Africa, and this shows a comparable pattern seen in hereditary and palaeoanthropological research studies of withstanding population structure in West Africa.”

As director of fieldwork for the ‘Lise Meitner’ Pan-African Development research study group’s mindful job, Blinkhorn is carrying out research study in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Nigeria, trying to find connections in between the environments of the past and current human advancement. .


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