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Middle Stone Age populations repeatedly occupied West African coast

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

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

“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 giant, excavated stone software assemblages that we are able to clearly date to particular intervals.”

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 examine meant it was mired in controversy.

“Prior to now, 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 creator 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 courting research that make Tiémassas a benchmark instance of the Center Stone Age of West Africa.”

Earlier analysis by the workforce 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 courting 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 methods,” says Niang. “What is absolutely notable is that the stone software assemblages are actually in step with each other and type 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 almost 40 thousand years.”

The outcomes of this new analysis at Tiémassas consolidate the sparse file 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 positioned near the coast and on the interface of three ecozones: savannahs, forests and mangroves.

“Our new work at Tiémassas gives a neat comparability to latest work on coastal occupations in jap 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 adjustments noticed in jap Africa, and this displays an analogous 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 venture, Blinkhorn is conducting analysis in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Nigeria, in search of connections between the environments of the previous and up to date human evolution.

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