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Author: Donatella Usai

Detecting seasonal movements between the Nile Valley and the adjacent desert in the Early Holocene period is a difficult task. The material production, especially the lithic industries, may have been oriented to different economic activities forwarded in these two different environments. Identifying lithic products as the output of the same cultural group moving from one area to the other may be, for this reason, quite complex. The Nabta region and the IInd Cataract offer an interesting hint on this argument. This contribution will try to highlight similarities between groups living in the Nile Valley and the Western Desert considering artefacts and faunal remains left by the inhabitants of Nabta/Kiseiba area and the Khartoum Variant sites of the Nile Valley IInd Cataract. This analysis will also make possible to advance a new chronological attribution for the Khartoum Variant cultural phase.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

study at the Uan Afuda Cave, an Early Holocene site in the central part of the mountains seasonally occupied by communities of hunter-gatherers, proved the existence of a delayed-return system of resource exploitation centered on Barbary sheep corralling and management (di Lernia 1999, 2001; Mercuri

In: Journal of African Archaeology

The emergence of pottery is a compelling issue for archaeologists. In Africa, pottery appeared in what is now the southern part of the Sahara and the Sahel at different localities and in different contexts in the 10th millennium bp. This paper aims to give an overview of the available data concerning early pottery in Northern Africa. The radiocarbon evidence is considered as well as technological features of the pottery, the decoration and the site context. The areas of the earliest appearance of pottery in Northern Africa were uninhabited during the hyperarid phase at the end of the Pleistocene. Intriguing questions are therefore the origin of the Early Holocene occupants and of their knowledge of potting and of course the role of early pottery in the prehistoric groups.

In: Journal of African Archaeology
Author: Donatella Usai

Following a line of research amply discussed in a paper that appeared in this same journal (Vol. 3 [1], 2005: 103- 115), the data presented here represent a further attempt to “track” the movements of the Western Desert dwellers into the Nile Valley and to reinforce the hypothesis that the Western Desert and the Nile Valley were, even in the Early Holocene, part of an integrated ecological and cultural system. The continuous search for archaeological data to prove this link led us to a site located nearly 45 years ago by the Colorado Expedition in Nubia in Wadi Karagan that displays a lithic assemblage that literally looks like a “photocopy” of some of the El Kortein/Bir Kiseiba collections. A comparison with these assemblages and a detail analysis of their chronological setting allow the establishment of a relative date for site 11-I-13 and pinpoint some new problems to be solved.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

archaeological project in the region. The aim of the project was to establish an understanding of human occupation in the area during the Early Holocene (the Epipalaeolithic-Neolithic transition) by reconstructing the chrono-cultural sequence of occupation and setting it in the context of the immediate

In: Journal of African Archaeology

The surface pottery from a well-preserved Holocene archaeological site in south-western Libya is analysed. The collection suggests a long and protracted human occupation of the shelter, from Late Acacus (Mesolithic) hunter-gatherers to Late Pastoral (Neolithic) herders. Aim of the work is to decode the dynamic history of the site via the study of its surface elements, both artefacts and ecofacts, and the way they interacted over the millennia. To do this, traditional ceramic analysis is combined with recently developed methods of description imported from sedimentology, stressing the potentialities of surface archaeological material. In this framework, spatial analysis of scattered potsherds, in connection with their quantitative and qualitative features and chronological attribution, appears of main relevance in the analysis of site formation processes and postdepositional events that altered the archaeological deposit, transforming its present surface.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

Stratigraphically extensive sites with good organic preservation that date to the Pleistocene/Holocene transition are rare in southern Africa outside the Fynbos Biome of the Cape. However, the Caledon Valley, which forms Lesotho’s western border with South Africa, boasts an unusual concentration of such sites, especially in its central portion. Archaeological fieldwork ahead of the impoundment of the Metolong Dam provided a renewed — and final — opportunity to investigate two of these sites, Ha Makotoko and Ntloana Tšoana, as part of a much larger study of the area’s cultural heritage by the Metolong Cultural Heritage Management (MCRM) Project. This paper reports on the assemblages from the earlier part of the Later Stone Age sequence from Ha Makotoko. As well as confirming the presence of two distinct phases of occupation by makers of the Oakhurst Complex during the early Holocene, new excavations identified an earlier , Robberg Industry occupation of terminal Pleistocene age. These assemblages are described and those of early Holocene date compared to observations from the earlier 1989 excavation at Ha Makotoko. Strongly defined patterning in the overall organisation of the use of space at the site is recognised, along with the potential to begin exploring such sites to answer questions about social practices relevant at a human timescale. Comparison of Ha Makotoko with other sites in the Caledon Valley suggests that such opportunities may also exist elsewhere in the region and reinforces its significance for studies of the Pleistocene/Holocene transition at a sub-continental scale.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

Archaeologists and historians have long believed that little interaction existed between Iron Age cities of the Kenya Coast and their rural hinterlands. Ongoing archaeological and anthropological research in Tsavo, Southeast Kenya, shows that Tsavo has been continuously inhabited at least since the early Holocene. Tsavo peoples made a living by foraging, herding, farming, and producing pottery and iron, and in the Iron Age were linked to global markets via coastal traders. They were at one point important suppliers of ivory destined for Southwest and South Asia. Our excavations document forager and agropastoralist habitation sites, iron smelting and iron working sites, fortified rockshelters, and mortuary sites. We discuss the relationship between fortified rockshelters, in particular, and slave trade.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

[German version] In the Early Holocene, the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, was common from central China to the Syrian Mediterranean coast. Written sources, representations, and, in particular, bones found in the excavations of settlements, indicate that some survived along the Syrian rivers into

In: Brill's New Pauly Online

The epipaleolithic culture of Foum Arguin stretched from the Oued Draa, in southern Morocco, to the Banc d’Arguin and from the Atlantic shore to the lowlands of northwestern Sahara in Mauritania. Its chronology is vague, located between the eighth and the seventh millenniums BP. It preceded a little the Neolithic, which followed it after 5500 BP on almost all the numerous habitats of this region.

Thanks to several sites of the Banc d’Arguin, less plundered than most others, we have been able to define the lithic industry of this culture and to compare it with similar groups, notably those located in southern Morocco. This industry, very varied, is unique and very distinct from other known traditions of that time — for instance the Iberomaurusian and the Caspian. Thus the place of the populations of Foum Arguin in the Saharian cultures of the early Holocene is an essential topic. In particular it is necessary to investigate the possible similarities with central and eastern Sahara, where epipaleolithic or preneolithic cultures are known — yet badly understood and dated as shown by the confusion surrounding the notion of “Ounan point”.

In: Journal of African Archaeology