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
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstracts

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

Sections

References

AmbroseS.H. 1998. Chronology of the Later Stone Age and food production in East Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 25377-392.

AssefaZ.LamY.M. & MienisH.K. 2008. Symbolic use of terrestrial gastropod opercula during the Middle Stone Age at Porc-Epic Cave, Ethiopia. Current Anthropology 49746-756.

AssefaZ.PleurdeauD.DuquesnoyF.HoversE.PearsonO.AsratA.T/TsionC. & LamY.M. 2014. Survey and explorations of caves in southeastern Ethiopia: Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age archaeology and Holocene rock art. Quaternary InternationalChanging Environments and Movements through Transitions: Paleoanthropological and Prehistorical Research in Ethiopia A Tribute to Prof. Mohammed Umer 343136-147.

AssefaZ.AsratA.HoversE.LamY.PearsonO.PleurdeauD.2018. Engraved ostrich eggshell from the Middle Stone Age contexts of Goda Buticha, Ethiopia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 17723-729.

BasellL.S. 2008. Middle Stone Age (msa) site distributions in eastern Africa and their relationship to Quaternary environmental change, refugia and the evolution of Homo sapiens. Quaternary Science Reviews 272484-2498.

BonF.DessieA.BruxellesL.DaussyA.DouzeK.Fauvelle-AymarF.-X.KhalidiL.LesurJ.MénardC.MarderO.MensanR. & Saint-SeverG. 2013. Archéologie préhistorique de la partie centrale du Main Ethiopian Rift: contribution à l’établissement de la séquence Late Stone Age d’Afrique orientale. Annales d’Ethiopie 28261-297.

BonF. & Fauvelle-AymarF.-X. 2014. The Prehistory of East Africa. In: RenfrewC. & BahnP. (eds.) The Cambridge World Prehistory 3 Volume Set. Cambridge University Press pp. 220-239.

BrandtS.A. 1982. A late quaternary cultural environmental sequence from Lake Besaka Southern Afar Ethiopia (PhD Thesis umi). University of California Berkeley Unpublished PhD Thesis.

BrandtS.A.FisherE.C.HildebrandE.A.VogelsangR.AmbroseS.H.LesurJ. & WangH. 2012. Early mis 3 occupation of Mochena Borago Rockshelter, Southwest Ethiopian Highlands: Implications for Late Pleistocene archaeology, paleoenvironments and modern human dispersals. Quaternary International 27438-54.

CampbellM.C. & TishkoffS.A. 2010. The Evolution of Human Genetic and Phenotypic Variation in Africa. Current Biology 20R166-R173.

CampsM. & ChauhanP.R. (eds.) 2009. Sourcebook of Paleolithic Transitions: Methods Theories and Interpretations. Springer Science+Business Media B.V.New York.

ClarkA.M. 1997. The final Middle Stone Age at Rose Cottage Cave: a distinct industry in the Basutolian ecozone. South African Journal of Science 93449-457.

ClarkJ.D. 1954. The Prehistoric Cultures of the Horn of Africa: An Analysis of the Stone Age Cultural and Climatic Succession in the Somalilands and Eastern Parts of Abyssinia. Occasional publications of the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Cambridge University PressCambridge.

ClarkJ.D. & WilliamsM.A.J. 1978. Recent archaeological research in southeastern Ethiopia. 1974-1975. Annales d’Ethiopie 1119-44.

ClarkJ.D. & WilliamsonK.D. 1984. A Middle Stone Age occupation site at Porc Epic Cave, Dire Dawa (east-central Ethiopia) – Part i. African Archaeological Review 237-64.

Diez-MartinF.Dominguez-RodrigoM.SanchezP.MabullaA.Z.P.TarriñoA.BarbaR.PrendergastM.E. & de LuqueL. 2009. The Middle to Later Stone Age technological transition in East Africa. New data from Mumba rockshelter Bed v (Tanzania) and their implications for the origin of modern human behavior. Journal of African Archaeology 7147-173.

FoersterV.JungingerA.LangkampO.GebruT.AsratA.UmerM.LambH.F.WennrichV.RethemeyerJ.NowaczykN.TrauthM.H. & SchaebitzF. 2012. Climatic change recorded in the sediments of the Chew Bahir basin, southern Ethiopia, during the last 45,000 years. Quaternary International 27425-37.

FoersterV.VogelsangR.JungingerA.AsratA.LambH.F.SchaebitzF. & TrauthM.H. 2015. Environmental change and human occupation of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya during the last 20,000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews 129333-340.

GenesteJ.M. 1985. Analyse lithique d’industries moustériennes du Périgord: une approche technologique du comportement des groupes humains au Paléolithique moyen (Thèse de doctorat). Université de Bordeaux i Bordeaux.

GliganicL.A.JacobsZ.RobertsR.G.Domínguez-RodrigoM. & MabullaA.Z.P. 2012. New ages for Middle and Later Stone Age deposits at Mumba rockshelter, Tanzania: Optically stimulated luminescence dating of quartz and feldspar grains. Journal of Human Evolution 62533-547.

GoodwinA.J.H. 1946. Earlier, Middle and Later. The South African Archaeological Bulletin 174-76.

GoodwinA.J.H.Van Riet LoweC. 1929. The Stone Age Cultures of South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum. Printed for the Trustees of the South African Museum by Neill and Co.Edinburgh.

GreshamT.H. 1984. An Investigation of an Upper Pleistocene Archaeological Site in Northern Somalia (Master Thesis in Arts). The University of Georgia Athens Georgia.

GutherzX.DiazA.MénardC.BonF.DouzeK.LéaV.LesurJ. & SordoilletD. 2014. The Hargeisan revisited: Lithic industries from shelter 7 of Laas Geel, Somaliland and the transition between the Middle and Late Stone Age in the Horn of Africa. Quaternary InternationalChanging Environments and Movements through Transitions: Paleoanthropological and Prehistorical Research in Ethiopia A Tribute to Prof. Mohammed Umer 34369-84.

GutherzX.JoussaumeR.AmblardS. & MohamedG. 1996. Le site d’Asa Koma (République de Djibouti) et les premiers producteurs dans la Corne de l’Afrique. Journal des africanistes 66255-298.

HildebrandE.A.BrandtS.A. & Lesur-GebremariamJ. 2010. The Holocene archaeology of Southwest Ethiopia: New insights from the Kafa Archaeological Project. African Archaeological Review 27255-289.

HodgsonJ.A.MulliganC.J.Al-MeeriA. & RaaumR.L. 2014. Early Back-to-Africa Migration into the Horn of Africa. PLoS Genet 10e1004393.

HoversE. 2009. The Lithic Assemblages of Qafzeh Cave. Oxford University Press.

HoversE. & KuhnS.L. (eds.) 2006. Transitions Before the Transition: Evolution and Stability in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age. Springer USBoston, MA.

KarlinC.BoduP. & PelegrinP. 1991. Processus techniques et chaînes opératoires: Comment les préhistoriens s’ approprient un concept élaboré par les ethnologues. In: BalfetH. (ed.) Observer L’action Technique: Des Chaînes Opératoires Pour Quoi Faire? Editions du CNRSParis pp. 101-117.

KuhnS.L. 2013. Questions of complexity and scale in explanations for cultural transitions in the Pleistocene: A case study from the Early Upper Paleolithic. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 20194-211.

KurashinaH. 1978. An examination of prehistoric lithic technology in East-Central Ethiopia (Unpublished PhD Thesis). University of California Berkeley.

LeplongeonA. 2014. Microliths in the Middle and Later Stone Age of eastern Africa: New data from Porc-Epic and Goda Buticha cave sites, Ethiopia. Quaternary International Changing Environments and Movements through Transitions: Paleoanthropological and Prehistorical Research in Ethiopia A Tribute to Prof. Mohammed Umer 343100-116.

Leroi-GourhanA. 1964. Le geste et la parole. Albin MichelParis.

LesurJ.HildebrandE.A.AbawaG. & GutherzX. 2014. The advent of herding in the Horn of Africa: New data from Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somaliland. Quaternary InternationalChanging Environments and Movements through Transitions: Paleoanthropological and Prehistorical Research in Ethiopia A Tribute to Prof. Mohammed Umer 343148-158.

LesurJ.VigneJ.-D. & GutherzX. 2007. Exploitation of wild mammals in South-west Ethiopia during the Holocene (4000 bc-500 ad): the finds from Moche Borago shelter (Wolayta). Environmental Archaeology 12139-159.

Lesur-GebremariamJ. 2009. Origine et diffusion de l’élevage dans la Corne de l’Afrique: un état de la question. Annales d’Ethiopie 24173-208.

MehlmanM.J. 1989. Late Quaternary archaeological sequences in northern Tanzania (PhD Thesis). University of Illinois Urbana.

MénardC. & BonF. 2015. Hiatus et lacune. Occupation du Rift éthiopien à la fin du Pléistocène et au début de l’Holocène. In: NaudinotN.MeignenL.BinderD. & QuerréG. (eds.) Les Systèmes de Mobilité de La Préhistoire Au Moyen Âge. Presented at the xxxve rencontres internationales d’archéologie et d’histoire d’AntibesEditions APDCAAntibes pp. 111-125.

MénardC.BonF.DessieA.BruxellesL.DouzeK.FauvelleF.-X.KhalidiL.LesurJ. & MensanR. 2014. Late Stone Age variability in the Main Ethiopian Rift: New data from the Bulbula River, Ziway-Shala basin. Quaternary InternationalChanging Environments and Movements through Transitions: Paleoanthropological and Prehistorical Research in Ethiopia A Tribute to Prof. Mohammed Umer 34353-68.

NegashA.BrownF. & NashB. 2011. Varieties and sources of artefactual obsidian in the Middle Stone Age of the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Archaeometry 53661-673.

NegashA. & ShackleyM.S. 2006. Geochemical provenance of obsidian artefacts from the msa site of Porc Epic, Ethiopia. Archaeometry 481-12.

PelegrinJ.KarlinC. & BoduP. 1988. Chaînes opératoires: un outil pour le préhistorien. In: TixierJ. (ed.) Technologie Préhistorique. Notes et Monographies Techniques Du CRA. Editions du CNRSParis pp. 55-62.

PerlèsC. 1974. Réexamen typologique de l’Industrie du Porc-Epic (Ethiopie): les pointes et pièces pointues. L’Anthropologie 78529-552.

PhillipsonD.W. 1977. The excavation of Gobedra rock-shelter, Axum: an early occurrence of cultivated finger millet in northern Ethiopia. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 1253-82.

PhillipsonD.W. 1982. The Later Stone Age in sub-Saharan Africa. In: ClarkJ.D. (ed.) From the Earliest Times to C. 500 B.C.The Cambridge History of Africa. Cambridge University PressCambridge pp. 410-477.

PleurdeauD. 2004. Gestion des matières premières et comportements techniques dans le Middle Stone Age africain: les assemblages lithiques de la grotte du Porc-Epic (Dire Dawa Ethiopie)BAR International Series 1317. ArchaeopressOxford.

PleurdeauD. 2005a. Human technical behavior in the African Middle Stone Age: The lithic assemblage of Porc-Epic Cave (Dire Dawa, Ethiopia). African Archaeological Review 22177-197.

PleurdeauD. 2005b. The lithic assemblage of the 1975-1976 excavation of the Porc-Epic Cave, Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia. Implications for the East African Middle Stone Age. Journal of African Archaeology 3117-126.

PleurdeauD.HoversE.AssefaZ.AsratA.PearsonO.BahainJ.-J. & LamY.M. 2014. Cultural change or continuity in the late msa/Early lsa of southeastern Ethiopia? The site of Goda Buticha, Dire Dawa area. Quaternary InternationalChanging Environments and Movements through Transitions: Paleoanthropological and Prehistorical Research in Ethiopia A Tribute to Prof. Mohammed Umer 343117-135.

PrendergastM.E.LuqueL.Domínguez-RodrigoM.Diez-MartínF.MabullaA.Z.P. & BarbaR. 2007. New excavations at Mumba Rockshelter, Tanzania. Journal of African Archaeology 5217-243.

RossoD.E.MartíA.P. & d’ErricoF. 2016. Middle Stone Age Ochre Processing and Behavioural Complexity in the Horn of Africa: Evidence from Porc-Epic Cave, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. PLOS ONE 11e0164793.

SheaJ.J.FleagleJ.G. & AssefaZ. 2007. Context and chronology of early Homo sapiens fossils from the Omo Kibish Formation, Ethiopia. In: MellarsP.BoyleK.Bar-YosefO. & StringerC. (eds.) Rethinking the Human Revolution. McDonald Institute for Archaeological ResearchCambridge pp. 153-162.

SoressiM. & GenesteJ.M. 2011. Special Issue: Reduction Sequence, Chaîne Opératoire, and Other Methods: The Epistemologies of Different Approaches to Lithic Analysis. The History and Efficacy of the Chaîne Opératoire Approach to Lithic Analysis: Studying Techniques to Reveal Past Societies in an Evolutionary Perspective. PaleoAnthropology 334-350.

TostevinG.B. 2000. The Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition from the Levant to Central Europe: in situ development or diffusion? In: OrschiedtJ. & WenigerG.C. (eds.) Neanderthals and Modern Humans: Discussing the Transition. Central & Eastern Europe from 50000-30000 BP. Neanderthal MuseumMettmann pp. 92-111.

TostevinG.B. 2003. A quest for antecedents; a comparison of the Terminal Middle Palaeolithic and the Early Upper Palaeolithic of the Levant. In: Belfer-CohenA. & Goring-MorrisN. (eds.) More than Meets the Eye. Studies on Upper Palaeolithic Diversity in the Near East. Oxford pp. 54-67.

TostevinG.B. 2013. Seeing Lithics: A Middle-Range Theory for Testing for Cultural Transmission in the Pleistocene. Oxbow BooksOxford.

TriboloC.AsratA.BahainJ.-J.ChaponC.DouvilleE.FragnolC.HernandezM.HoversE.LeplongeonA.MartinL.PleurdeauD.PearsonO.M.PuaudS. & AssefaZ. 2017. Across the Gap: Geochronological and sedimentological analyses from the Late Pleistocene-Holocene sequence of Goda Buticha, Southeastern Ethiopia. PLoS ONE 12 (1) e0169418.

TryonC.A.Tyler FaithJ.PeppeD.J.FoxD.L.McNultyK.P.JenkinsK.DunsworthH. & Harcourt-SmithW. 2010. The Pleistocene archaeology and environments of the Wasiriya Beds, Rusinga Island, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 59657-671.

VillaP.SorianoS.TsanovaT.DeganoI.HighamT.F.G.d’ErricoF.BackwellL.LucejkoJ.J.ColombiniM.P. & BeaumontP.B. 2012. Border Cave and the beginning of the Later Stone Age in South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10913208-13213.

VogelN.NomadeS.NegashA. & RenneP.R. 2006. Forensic 40Ar/39Ar dating: a provenance study of Middle Stone Age obsidian artifacts from Ethiopia. Journal of Archaeological Science 331749-1765.

WadleyL. 1997. Rose Cottage Cave: archaeological work 1987 to 1997. South African Journal of Science 93439-444.

YellenJ.BrooksA.HelgrenD.TappenM.AmbroseS.BonnefilleR.FeathersJ.GoodfriendG.LudwigK.RenneP. & StewartK. 2005. The Archaeology of Aduma Middle Stone Age sites in the Awash Valley, Ethiopie. PaleoAnthropology 1025-100.

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Location of sites mentioned in the text. (Created using Natural Earth Data in qgis).
  • View in gallery
    Characteristics of lithic assemblages from main sites in the Horn of Africa dated between 100 ka and 8 ka.
  • View in gallery
    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).
  • View in gallery
    Main characteristics of the lithic assemblage from layers iid-iif, Goda Buticha.
  • View in gallery
    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.
  • View in gallery
    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.
  • View in gallery
    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.
  • View in gallery
    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.
  • View in gallery
    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.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 48 48 23
Full Text Views 14 14 14
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0