Center Stone Age populations repeatedly occupied West African coast

Middle Stone Age populations repeatedly occupied West African coast

Though coastlines have broadly been proposed as potential corridors of previous migration, the occupation of Africa’s tropical coasts through the Stone Age is poorly recognized, notably in distinction to the temperate coasts of northern and southern Africa. Latest research in japanese Africa have begun to resolve this, detailing dynamic behavioural modifications close to the coast of Kenya over the last glacial part, however research of Stone Age occupations alongside western Africa’s coasts are nonetheless missing.

Middle Stone Age populations repeatedly occupied West African coast
The excavation website at Tiémassas, which preserves proof for Center Stone Age
occupations spanning 62-25 thousand years in the past [Credit: K. Niang]

In recent times, anthropological analysis has begun to analyze the connection between demographic variety and patterns of behavioural change. A variety of genetic and palaeoanthropological research have begun to spotlight the appreciable demographic variety current in West Africa within the current previous, however archaeological research of Stone Age websites are nonetheless wanted to know how this variety pertains to patterns of behaviour proven within the archaeological document.

“There are many floor websites which have demonstrated the wealth of Stone Age archaeology in West Africa,” says Jimbob Blinkhorn of MPI-SHH, “however to characterise patterns of fixing behaviour, we’d like massive, excavated stone software assemblages that we are able to clearly date to particular durations.”

Tiémassas is a Stone Age website with a notable historical past of analysis, together with floor surveys and early excavations within the mid-20th century, however the lack of systematic research meant it was mired in controversy.

“Previously, Tiémassas has been described as a Center Stone Age, Later Stone Age or Neolithic website, and resolving between these alternate options has essential implications for our understanding of behaviour on the website,” says lead writer Khady Niang of Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. “We have reviewed beforehand collected materials from the positioning, performed new excavations and evaluation of stone instruments and mixed this with relationship research that make Tiémassas a benchmark instance of the Center Stone Age of West Africa.”

Middle Stone Age populations repeatedly occupied West African coast
A Levallois core recovered from excavations at Tiémassas, a part of a standard,
persistent suite of stone software applied sciences employed on the website between
 62-25 thousand years in the past [Credit: K. Niang]

Earlier analysis by the crew dated a Center Stone Age occupation at Tiémassas to 45 thousand years in the past. The brand new analysis extends the timeframe of occupations on the website, with additional stone software assemblages recovered relationship to 62 thousand and 25 thousand years in the past. Critically, these stone software assemblages include technologically distinct varieties that assist to characterise the character of stone software manufacturing throughout every occupation part.

“The Center Stone Age occupants of Tiémassas employed two distinct applied sciences – centripetal Levallois and discoidal discount programs,” says Niang. “What is admittedly notable is that the stone software assemblages are actually in step with each other and kind a sample we are able to match up with the outcomes of earlier excavations too. Pulled collectively, the positioning tells a transparent story of startling technological continuity for practically 40 thousand years.”

The outcomes of this new analysis at Tiémassas consolidate the sparse document of Center Stone Age occupations of West Africa. But, the positioning’s location is distinct from others dated to the Center Stone Age within the area as it’s situated near the coast and on the interface of three ecozones: savannahs, forests and mangroves.

“Our new work at Tiémassas provides a neat comparability to current work on coastal occupations in japanese Africa. They span roughly the identical timeframe, have related ecological traits, and are discovered alongside tropical coasts,” says Blinkhorn. “However the continuity in behaviour we see at Tiémassas stands in stark distinction to the technological modifications noticed in japanese Africa, and this displays the same sample seen in genetic and palaeoanthropological research of putting up with inhabitants construction in West Africa.”

As director of fieldwork for the ‘Lise Meitner’ Pan-African Evolution analysis group’s aWARE mission, Blinkhorn is conducting analysis in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Nigeria, on the lookout for connections between the environments of the previous and up to date human evolution.

The findings are printed within the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reviews.

Supply: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft [November 20, 2020]

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