78,000-year-old record of Middle and Later stone age innovation in an East African tropical forest

Shipton, Ceri; Roberts, Patrick; Archer, Will; Armitage, Simon J.; Bita, Caesar; Blinkhorn, James; Courtney-Mustaphi, Colin; Crowther, Alison; Curtis, Richard; d' Errico, Francesco; Douka, Katerina; Faulkner, Patrick; Groucutt, Huw S.; Helm, Richard; Herri

VL / 9 - BP / - EP /
The Middle to Later Stone Age transition in Africa has been debated as a significant shift in human technological, cultural, and cognitive evolution. However, the majority of research on this transition is currently focused on southern Africa due to a lack of long-term, stratified sites across much of the African continent. Here, we report a 78,000-year-long archeological record from Panga ya Saidi, a cave in the humid coastal forest of Kenya. Following a shift in toolkits similar to 67,000 years ago, novel symbolic and technological behaviors assemble in a non-unilinear manner. Against a backdrop of a persistent tropical forest- grassland ecotone, localized innovations better characterize the Late Pleistocene of this part of East Africa than alternative emphases on dramatic revolutions or migrations.

AccesS level

Gold DOAJ, Green published, Green accepted