Late Pleistocene and Holocene Lithic Variability at Goda Buticha (Southeastern Ethiopia): Implications for the Understanding of the Middle and Late Stone Age of the Horn of Africa

in Journal of African Archaeology
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The Late Pleistocene is a key period to understand the shift from the Middle (msa) to the Late Stone Age (lsa) in Africa. More generally, it is also a crucial time for elucidation of changes in the technological behaviours of human populations in Africa after the main Out of Africa event of modern humans ca. 60-50 thousand years ago. However, the archaeological record for this period is relatively poor, particularly for the Horn of Africa. Here we present a detailed analysis of the lithic assemblages from Goda Buticha (gb), a cave in southeastern Ethiopia, which has yielded a long stratigraphic sequence including Late Pleistocene and Holocene levels. This study (1) contributes to a better knowledge of the late msa in the Horn of Africa; (2) documents a late Holocene lsa level (gb – Complex i); (3) highlights the presence of msa characteristics associated with lsa features in the Holocene (gb – Layer iic). This adds to the emerging record of great lithic technological variability during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene in this region.

Late Pleistocene and Holocene Lithic Variability at Goda Buticha (Southeastern Ethiopia): Implications for the Understanding of the Middle and Late Stone Age of the Horn of Africa

in Journal of African Archaeology



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    Location of sites mentioned in the text. (Created using Natural Earth Data in qgis).
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    Characteristics of lithic assemblages from main sites in the Horn of Africa dated between 100 ka and 8 ka.
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    Goda Buticha. A. general view of the cave. B. Floor plan indicating the excavated areas from which the current sample derives. C. A schematic stratigraphic section showing the main units and dates D. Barchart: count of lithic material according to the main stratigraphic units. The Y-axis shows elevation (in cm) in relation to the arbitary excavation datum (*osl dates after Tribolo et al. 2017; ** radiocarbon dates, after Pleurdeau et al. 2014).
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    Main characteristics of the lithic assemblage from layers iid-iif, Goda Buticha.
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    Graphs of length and width of complete elongated blanks from Layers iid-iif, iic and i of Goda Buticha: A: scatterplot of length and width according to raw material, B: histogram of lengths; C: Goda Buticha iic. Histogram of lengths according to raw material.
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    Lithic artefacts from Goda Buticha iid-iif. (a,c): blade cores, (b): Levallois core, (d): bladelet core, (e,f ): Levallois blades, (g-m): technical pieces related to elongated blank production, including (h,l,m): technical pieces related to a volumetric conception of debitage, (n-r): elongated blanks.
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    Lithic artefacts from Goda Buticha iid-iif. (a-e): elongated blanks, ( f-p): retouched points, (q-s): small uni- or bifacial obsidian ovates, (t-u): microliths.
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    Main characteristics of the lithic assemblage from layer iic at Goda Buticha.
  • View in gallery
    Lithic artefacts from Layer iic at Goda Buticha. (a) Levallois core, (b,c): blade cores, (d-f ): bladelet cores, (g-n): technical pieces related to blade(let) production, (o-v): blades, (w): bladelet.
  • View in gallery
    Lithic artefacts from Layer IIc at Goda Buticha. (a-g): bladelets, (h-n): retouched points, (o-p): elongated backed points, (q-r): backed pieces, (s-u): microliths, (v-w): fragments of microliths or elongated backed points, (x-y): small unifacially retouched obsidian ovates.
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    Main characteristics of the lithic assemblage from Complex i at Goda Buticha.
  • View in gallery
    Lithic artefacts from Complex i at Goda Buticha. (a) Levallois-like core, (b-d) cores for elongated blanks, (e,f,j): technical pieces related to elongated blank production, (g-i) bladelets, (k-m) geometric microliths, (n) large backed piece.

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