Sahnouni, Dr. Mohamed, Stone Age Institute, Gosport, IN - To aid research on 'Investigations into the Pliocene Archaeology of Ain Boucherit, Northeastern Algeria'
DR. MOHAMED SAHNOUNI, Stone Age Institute, Gosport, Indiana, received a grant in April 2008 to aid research on 'Investigations into the Pliocene Archaeology of Ain Boucherit, Northeastern Algeria.' Archaeological investigations were carried out to examine the possibility of whether early hominins inhabited North Africa prior to 2.0 million years ago. The investigations consisted of surveying the research area, studying the stratigraphy and sampling for dating, excavating the late Pliocene fossil/stone artifact bearing stratum, and analyzing the excavated archaeological materials. The excavations yielded relatively rich stone tool and faunal assemblages. The stone tools are Oldowan and include core-forms, whole flakes, and fragments. The presence of an Equus bone bearing a series of cut-marks indicates the causal link between the stone tools and the faunal remains. Paleomagnetic and cosmogenic nuclides studies are underway but faunal taxa of biochronological interest indicate a late Pliocene age that can be estimated between 1.95 and 2.32 Ma. Thus, Ain Boucherit documents the evidence of the earliest human occupation in North Africa, and can help our understanding of the larger picture of early hominin dispersal out of Africa.
Chirikure, Dr. Shadreck, U. of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa - To aid 'Biennial Conference of Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA),' 2015, U. of Zimbabwe, in collaboration with Dr. Plan Nyabezi
'Towards an Interdisciplinary Framework for Southern African Archaeology: Taking Stock of Archaeological Thought, Methods and Practice in Southern Africa'
July 1-3, 2015, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Organizers: Shadreck Chirikure (U. Cape Town) and Plan Nyabezi (U. Zimbabwe)
The 2015 biennial conference of the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA) brought together professional archaeologists from southern Africa as well as international scholars whose research interests lie in the region. The biennial conference provided these professionals with an international platform to share new knowledge network and seek collaboration in the fields of archaeology and archaeological heritage management. Students in archaeology got to interact with professionals and forge lifelong networks. The conference attracted other stakeholders such as members of communities that live around archaeological sites, traditional custodians, policy makers and museum curators. It provided an opportunity for dialogue between different archaeological practitioners. The conference involved oral and poster presentations as well as roundtable discussions on topical issues in archaeological theory and practice. The scope of the conference covered the full span of southern African archaeology, from the earliest hominids to the historical period, with topics including paleoanthropology, palaeo-environments and climate change, Stone Age, farming communities, and ethno archaeology, among others reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of archaeology.
Wilmsen, Dr. Edwin, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK - To aid engaged activities on 'Reciprocal Relations: Expanding the Benefits of Research in the Study Area,' 2015, Botswana
DR. EDWIN WILMSEN, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, received funding in March 2015 to aid engaged activities on 'Reciprocal Relations: Expanding the Benefits of Research in the Study Area, Botswana.' Initial discussions/seminars with Botswana National Museum and University of Botswana personnel focused on concerns about the relevance of ethnography for interpreting archaeological data and on new legislation regarding access to clay resources. It is unclear if this applies to small-scale operators such as potters whose access to clays could be in jeopardy; urgent steps must be taken to clarify the matter. Another concern was an increasing tendency for potters to adopt mechanical rather than traditional modes of potting, the fear being that a significant facet of Tswana heritage will be lost. A workshop (including the screening of the grantee's film on Pilikwe potters) addressed traditional and contemporary constraints on resource procurement as aspects of land tenure, the technical steps taken by the potters in transforming raw material into clay, and analytic procedures used to identify clays and how such data aid in identifying prehistoric social interactions. Visits to Pilikwe and Manaledi potters revealed substantial changes taking place in Pilikwe-which is being absorbed into a labor catchment area where potters 'don't want to stay 'traditional,' we want production'-while in Manaledi traditional potting is thriving, this difference largely a matter of geographical location. Both potters need market exposure and we will investigate ways to accomplish this.
McCoy, Jack T., Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Ecological & Behavioral Implications of New Archaeological Occurrences from Koobi Fora, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. John W.K. Harris
JACK T. MCCOY, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in December 2005 to aid research on 'Ecological and Behavioral Implications of New Archaeological Occurrences from Koobi Fora, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. John W.K. Harris. Decades of investigations in Upper Burgi Member exposures (2.2 to 1.9 Ma) by many prominent paleoanthropologists have produced more than three dozen hominin body fossils but virtually no stone tools or other evidence of behavior has been reported. These exposed sediments preserve an archive of fossils that can reveal a great deal about the ecology, environment, and changing foraging behaviors of the earliest members of the genus Homo. Through the collection and analysis of the fossils of terrestrial vertebrates, it is possible to reconstruct ancient animal communities and offer hypotheses about the changing ecological niche that early human ancestors occupied. The addition of significant quantities of meat and marrow into the diet of early hominins is also visible in the fossil record. Cut marks and percussion marks are preserved on fossil bones and this evidence of hominin presence and behavior was collected during this field research along with the oldest stone tools yet discovered at Koobi Fora. This research makes it possible to construct testable hypotheses about hominin habitat and changing foraging behaviors at this critical juncture in human evolution.
Niang, Dr. Khady, U. Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal -To aid research on 'Middle Stone Age Occupations in Senegambia'
Preliminary abstract: Homo sapiens dispersal across and out of the African continent is hotly debated. Genetic evidences, play in favour for an west african admixture area before recent dispersal around 100.000 ka but archaeological data are sporadic and well dated site inexistant . The project principal aim is the enlightement of MSA occupation, acquisition of a set of OSL datings from stratified MSA sites and finally the description of the lithic technology of these sites. The need for a refined chronology , and technological definition of the local variant of MSA in west Africa is critical in our attempt to understand H. sapiens dynamics in Africa before inter-continental migrations. The research will be conducted on the senegalese littoral between Tiemassas and Pointe Sarene. Systematic survey and test excavation will provide soil samples to be dated by OSL. Lithic compared analyses between MSA lithic materiel recovered out of stratigraphic context and new archaeological material will be useful to refine to refine technological behavior and cultural trends.