Tracing population movement across eastern Africa and Eurasia through lithic technology during the late Pleistocene (End of MIS 6 to MIS 4)

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Dr. Mae Goder, Max Planck Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Many archaeologists associate the appearance of Homo sapiens and modern behavior with the Middle Stone Age of Africa. Over the years numerous models have been developed to explain how and why modern humans left Africa and dispersed throughout the world. The majority of these models are based on skeletal and genetic data as well as climatic data, while paradoxically very few incorporate archaeological data.

One prominent Model, the Multiple Dispersal Model, closely related to the Single Origin and ‘Out of Africa’ Models, hypothesizes that throughout the Middle Stone Age (MIS 6 through to MIS 4) there were several waves of dispersals out of eastern Africa conditioned by geographic and climatic constraints that created ecological dispersal corridors. During these times the Sahara, Negev and Arabian deserts were subjected to periods of climatic amelioration, blurring geographical boundaries between sub-tropical Africa and the Levant.

My talk will present data from my PhD which approached the issue of modern human dispersals from the archaeological perspective. Archaeological assemblages from Ethiopia, the Nile Valley and the southern Levant were analyzed and compared from a chaîne opératoire perspective. This approach to the analysis of lithic technology provides a conceptual and methodological opportunity to glean processes of technological diffusion and inter-regional contacts. This then enables the identification of regional lithic technological packages as well as the diffusion of technological traits between prehistoric groups. In this talk along with the background data I will present my research results and show how in some instances lithic assemblages can aid in tracing population movement across the landscape.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 09/11/2015, 16:00 h – 17:00 h

Location: Room S22, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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