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Afr Archaeol Rev ; 39(1): 1-33, 2022.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35535307


Over the past decade, the increasing wealth of new archaeological data on the Middle Stone Age (MSA) in Senegal and Mali has broadened our understanding of West Africa's contributions to cultural developments. Within the West African sequence, the phase of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3, ca. 59-24 ka) yielded so far the best known and extensive archaeological information. The site of Toumboura III encompasses an occupation dated by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) to between 40 ± 3 ka and 30 ± 3 ka. It provides the largest, well-dated, and stratified lithic assemblage in West Africa for the MSA and sheds light on an unprecedented cultural expression for this period, adding to the notable diversity of the late MSA in this region. We conducted a technological analysis of the lithic components following the chaîne opératoire approach. The lithic assemblage features a prevalence of bifacial technology and the exploitation of flakes as blanks for tool production. The craftspeople manufactured distinct types of bifacial tools, including small bifacial points shaped by pressure technique. The new data from Toumboura III demonstrate behavioral patterns that are entirely new in the region. By revealing behavioral innovations and technological particularities, these results on the techno-cultural dynamics during the MIS 3 phase of the MSA enhance our understanding of the complex Pleistocene population history in this part of Africa. Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10437-021-09463-5.

Au cours de la dernière décennie, la multiplication des nouvelles données archéologiques sur le Middle Stone Age (MSA) au Sénégal et au Mali a mené à une meilleure introduction de l'Afrique de l'Ouest dans la discussion sur les développements culturels. Dans la séquence ouest-africaine, la phase relative au stade isotopique marin 3 (MIS 3, ~ 59 - 24 ka) est à ce jour la mieux documentée du point de vue archéologique. Le site de Toumboura III représente une occupation humaine datée entre 40 ± 3 ka et 30 ± 3 ka par luminescence stimulée optiquement (OSL). Il a fourni l'assemblage lithique stratifié MSA le plus abondant d'Afrique de l'Ouest et met en lumière une expression culturelle inédite pour cette période, ajoutant ainsi une industrie unique à la diversité considérable déjà reconnue pour le MSA tardif de cette région. Nous avons mené une analyse technologique des artefacts lithiques selon une approche des chaînes opératoires. L'assemblage lithique est caractérisé par une prévalence du façonnage bifacial et par l'exploitation d'éclats de façonnage comme supports d'outils. Les artisans ont confectionné différents types d'outils bifaciaux, dont des petites pointes bifaciales montrant la mise en oeuvre de la technique de façonnage par pression. Les nouvelles données obtenues à Toumboura III montrent des comportements jusque-là inconnus dans la région. Par la mise en évidence d'innovations comportementales et de particularités technologiques, ces résultats sur les dynamiques techno-culturelles au MSA au cours du MIS 3 contribuent à mieux comprendre l'histoire complexe du peuplement dans cette région.

PLoS One ; 13(10): e0202853, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30303992


In the past few decades, a diverse array of research has emphasized the precocity of technically advanced and symbolic practices occurring during the southern African Middle Stone Age. However, uncertainties regarding the regional chrono-cultural framework constrain models and identification of the cultural and ecological mechanisms triggering the development of such early innovative behaviours. Here, we present new results and a refined chronology for the Pietersburg, a techno-complex initially defined in the late 1920's, which has disappeared from the literature since the 1980's. We base our revision of this techno-complex on ongoing excavations at Bushman Rock Shelter (BRS) in Limpopo Province, South Africa, where two Pietersburg phases (an upper phase called '21' and a lower phase called '28') are recognized. Our analysis focuses on the '28' phase, characterized by a knapping strategy based on Levallois and semi-prismatic laminar reduction systems and typified by the presence of end-scrapers. Luminescence chronology provides two sets of ages for the upper and lower Pietersburg of BRS, dated respectively to 73±6ka and 75±6ka on quartz and to 91±10ka and 97±10ka on feldspar, firmly positioning this industry within MIS5. Comparisons with other published lithic assemblages show technological differences between the Pietersburg from BRS and other southern African MIS5 traditions, especially those from the Western and Eastern Cape. We argue that, at least for part of MIS5, human populations in South Africa were regionally differentiated, a process that most likely impacted the way groups were territorially and socially organized. Nonetheless, comparisons between MIS5 assemblages also indicate some typological similarities, suggesting some degree of connection between human groups, which shared similar innovations but manipulated them in different ways. We pay particular attention to the end-scrapers from BRS, which represent thus far the earliest documented wide adoption of such tool-type and provide further evidence for the innovative processes characterizing southern Africa from the MIS5 onwards.

Arqueologia/tendências , Paleontologia/tendências , Tecnologia/tendências , Comportamento de Utilização de Ferramentas , Cultura , Fósseis , Humanos , Luminescência , Quartzo , África do Sul
PLoS One ; 12(4): e0175151, 2017.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28445544


Projectile technology is considered to appear early in the southern African Middle Stone Age (MSA) and the rich and high resolution MSA sequence of Sibudu Cave in KwaZulu-Natal has provided many new insights about the use and hafting of various projectile forms. We present the results of a functional and technological analysis on a series of unpublished serrated bifacial points recently recovered from the basal deposits of Sibudu Cave. These serrated tools, which only find equivalents in the neighbouring site of Umhlatuzana, precede the Still Bay techno-complex and are older than 77 ka BP. Independent residue and use-wear analyses were performed in a phased procedure involving two separate analysts, which allowed the engagement between two separate lines of functional evidence. Thanks to the excellent preservation at Sibudu Cave, a wide range of animal, plant and mineral residues were observed in direct relation with diagnostic wear patterns. The combination of technological, wear and residue evidence allowed us to confirm that the serration was manufactured with bone compressors and that the serrated points were mounted with a composite adhesive as the tips of projectiles used in hunting activities. The suite of technological and functional data pushes back the evidence for the use of pressure flaking during the MSA and highlights the diversity of the technical innovations adopted by southern African MSA populations. We suggest the serrated points from the stratigraphic units Adam to Darya of Sibudu illustrate one important technological adaptation of the southern African MSA and provide another example of the variability of MSA bifacial technologies.

Antropologia Cultural , Arqueologia , Animais , Cavernas , Fósseis/história , História Antiga , Humanos , Pressão , África do Sul , Tecnologia , Comportamento de Utilização de Ferramentas