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“The oldest Stone Age occupation of coastal West Africa and its implications for modern human dispersals: New insight from Tiemassas”.

Examinations of modern human dispersals are typically focused on expansions from South, East or North Africa into Eurasia, with more limited attention paid to dispersals within Africa. The paucity of the West African fossil record means it has typically been overlooked in appraisals of human expansions in the Late Pleistocene, yet regions such as Senegal occur in key biogeographic transitional zones that may offer significant corridors for human occupation and expansion. Here, we report the first evidence for Middle Stone Age occupation of the West African littoral from Tiemassas, dating to ~44 thousand years ago, coinciding with a period of enhanced humidity across the region. Prehistoric populations mainly procured raw material from exposed Ypresian limestone horizons with Levallois, discoidal and informal reduction sequences producing flake blanks for retouched tools. We discuss this mid-Marine Isotope Stage 3 occupation in the context of the site's unique, ecotonal position amongst Middle Stone Age sites across West Africa, and its significance for Later Stone Age colonization of near coastal forests in the region. The results also support previous suggestions for connections between Middle Stone Age populations in West Africa and the Maghreb, for which the coastline may also have played a significant role.

Auteur(s) : Khady NIANG, James BLINKORN, Matar NDIAYE
Pages : 167-173
Année de publication : 2018
Revue : Quaternary Science Reviews
N° de volume : n°188
Type : Article
Mise en ligne par : NDIAYE Matar