I provide a qualitative study of the unpublished portions of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) lithic assemblage from the Porc-Epic cave site in Ethiopia, presently conserved at the National Museum of Ethiopia (NME), in Addis Ababa.
Previous investigation of all the lithic material collected during the 1933 excavations resulted in an in-depth technological study, revealing its important technical variability, and integrated this material into a regional and continental context. The focus here are the 1975-76 excavations at Porc-Epic Cave, which have provided a collection of several tens of thousands of stone tools, forming the majority of the total lithic material of the cave. This collection, never before studied, published, or inventoried, is stored at the NME in Addis Ababa. It is remarkable for its quantitative importance and its relevance to Ethiopian heritage, as well as for its scientific interest concerning the behaviour of modern humans more than 70,000 years ago.
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.
Located in the Omo-Turkana basin at the northern limit of the Koobi Fora sedimentary Formation, the Fejej region has recently proven to be a rich study area for understanding early hominin behaviour and paleoenvironmental conditions. Among the rich fossiliferous and stone artefact localities discovered so far at Fejej, the FJ-1a archeological site has yielded a faunal and lithic assemblage in primary context. The archeological level is situated within a 15 meter fluvial sequence beneath a volcanic tuff. Geochronological data from the FJ-1 sequence indicate an age of nearly 1,9 Ma for the FJ-1a artefact level. The stone industry was knapped from locally available raw materials (mainly quartz and basalt) and rocks had been carefully selected according to specific petrographical and formal criterion. Hominins mastered several distinct stone knapping methods and used more or less exhaustive reduction sequences in order to produce small flakes. The different techniques used for stone reduction are defined in this paper thanks to a series of refits of flakes onto cores. Along with the refits, an in-depth analysis of the flakes, cores and worked pebbles provides an overview of the technological capacities of hominins present at the site nearly 2 million years ago. After the Fejej FJ-1a site was abandoned the archeological materials were rapidly buried, leaving an almost undisturbed archeological level. This site appears to represent a short episode of hominin occupation.