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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Middle Stone Age in East Africa and Modern Human Origins
Author:Willoughby, Pamela R.
Periodical:African Archaeological Review
Geographic term:East Africa
Stone Age
human evolution
Anthropology and Archaeology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01118140
Abstract:There is a growing belief that sub-Saharan Africa is the region and the Middle Stone Age (MSA, the archaeological phase between 200,000 and 30,000 years ago which represents the beginnings of regional variation in technology and cultural adaptation) is the time in which anatomically modern humans first developed. This paper reviews the current arguments concerning the origin and dispersal of modern humans, and the importance of the MSA for the resolution of the problem. It pays attention to the so-called genetic or 'Mitochondrial Eve' model and the impact of environmental change on the creation of anatomically modern humans, and describes the results of a 1990 survey for MSA sites conducted in the Songwe River Valley (Rukwa Rift Valley, southwestern Tanzania). A total of 9609 stone artefacts were collected during the survey, almost two thirds of which has been assigned to the MSA. One notable feature is the variety of raw materials used for artefact production. While quartz is predominant in both the MSA and the mixed MSA/LSA (Lower Stone Age) sites, substantial numbers of chert and fine-grained quartzites and volcanics were also utilized. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French.