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An Early Holocene Lithic Assemblage from Dibé Rockshelter, South-Central Ethiopia

In: Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 DFG Center for Advanced Studies, University of Tübingen72070 TübingenGermany
  • | 2 Department of Archaeology, University of Cape TownRondebosch 7701South Africa
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Abstract

The dearth of securely dated assemblages in the Horn of Africa limits a comprehensive understanding of human adaptation across the Early Holocene. This paper presents results from initial analyses of lithic material from Dibé rockshelter in the Arsi lowlands, Ethiopia. Radiocarbon dates confirm occupation of Dibé rockshelter by hunter-gatherers directly following improved climatic conditions marking the onset of the Holocene. Microliths dominate both the surface and excavated sub-assemblages. Micro-burins and Levallois items are present, although more frequent as surface finds. Regionally available siliceous rocks were extensively exploited, with greater variety in the older occupation layers signifying differential access to raw material sources and/or wider foraging ranges. Largely similar reduction patterns and toolkits across the sampled sequence imply continuity in lithic tradition. This, coupled with the total absence of finds commonly associated with early food production, suggests that Dibé was abandoned during one of the abrupt arid episodes of the Early/Mid-Holocene.

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