Logan, Amanda Lee, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Practicing Change, Remembering Continuity: Incorporating Global Foods into Daily Routines in Banda, Ghana, AD 1000 - Present,' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli
AMANDA L. LOGAN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Practicing Change, Remembering Continuity: Incorporating Global Foods into Daily Routines in Banda, Ghana (AD 1000 to Present),' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli. This study examined how global pressures impacted daily life in West Africa through the lens of food and domestic architecture. Research focused on Banda, a region in west central Ghana that has seen sustained archaeological work that has documented shifts in political economy over the last 1000 years. Investigations focused on how people incorporated new crops into daily practice during each of these shifts, and whether or not dietary continuities and changes corresponded with changes in domestic architecture. People relied mostly on indigenous grains pearl millet and sorghum for much of the last millennium. Maize, a high yielding American crop, arrived quickly in Banda (c. 1660), but did not become a staple until the 1890s under conditions of political and economic duress associated with the shift to market economies and colonial rule. These data point to the political underpinnings of food insecurity, and suggest that in the Banda area such problems did not emerge until quite late. Shifts in house form and construction techniques also hint at shifts in standard of living as Banda moved from an important node in Niger trade to a periphery in the modern world system.
Muia, Mulu, U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL - To aid research on 'Changes in Lithic Technology and Origin of Modern Human Behavior in Ntuka, Southwest Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose
MULU MUIA, then a student at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, was awarded funding in February 2005 to aid research on 'Changes in Lithic Technology and Origin of Modern Human Behavior in Ntuka, Southwest Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose. The grant was used: 1) to expand excavations at two sites (GvJh11 and GvJh12) that had been excavated extensively previously, but whose sample size was small; and 2) to carry out new excavations at three other sites (GvJh21, GvJh78 and GvJh81) that had been test excavated. Artifacts recovered were made mostly of obsidian, lava and cherts. Faunal remains were limited mostly to teeth. Analysis of the artifacts sought to understand the process of technological change from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) to the Later Stone Age (LSA). The first step in the analysis focused on recording the various tool classes (the typology) and the raw materials so that the diversity of both in the MSA and LSA can be quantified. To understand raw material procurement strategies, all pieces were examined for cortex. Metric dimensions (length, width, and thickness) for all finished tools were recorded using electronic calipers. Flakes were examined for platform preparation by recording the presence or absence of facets. Where facets were present, they were counted. Platform width, thickness, and angle were recorded to identify flaking techniques.
Rosso, Daniela Eugenia, U. Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - To aid research on 'Technological and Physicochemical Characterization of MSA Pigments from Porc-Epic Cave (Dire Dawa, Ethiopia),' supervised by Dr. Francesco D'Errico
Preliminary abstract: We will apply novel methodology to the analysis of the pigments and pigment processing tools from Porc-Epic cave (Dire Dawa, Ethiopia) with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the emergence of pigment related technology in this region, evaluating its complexity, and discussing the implications of our results for the debate on the origin of 'behavioural modernity'. Porc-Epic is a Middle and Later Stone Age cave site. Research conducted during our Master's has highlighted that this site has yielded the richest collection of pigments in quantity thus far, and a variety of processing tools. Porc-Epic is one of the rare Palaeolithic sites at which most of the stages of pigment treatment can be recorded. Contextual, mineralogical, colorimetric, morphometric, technological, and functional information will be recorded in a comprehensive database. We will analyze all the pigments and processing tools from the 1975-1976 excavations. They consist of 4233 lumps of red and yellow material, with traces of anthropogenic modification, and 23 processing tools. Pigments will be studied using Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy, XRF, μ-XRD, PIXE Spectrometry, and Raman spectroscopy. A petrographic analysis of the pigments and a survey of the area will be conducted to identify the geological sources.
Swanepoel, Dr. Natalie Josephine, U. of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa - To aid research on 'A Regional Archaeology of Trade, Warfare, and Big Men in Pre-Colonial Northern Ghana'
Swanepoel, Natalie. 2009. Every Periphery Is It's Own Center: Sociopolitical and Economic Interacctions in nineteenth-Century Northwestern Ghana. International Journal of African Historical Studies 42:(3) 411-432.
Swanepoel, Natalie. 2008. View from the Village: Changing Settlement Patterns in Sisaland, Northern Ghana. International Journal of African Studies 41(1):1-27
Egeland, Dr. Charles Peter, U. of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC - To aid research on 'Geochemical and Physical Characterization of Lithic Raw Materials in the Olduvai Basin, Tanzania'
Preliminary abstract: The study of raw materials has traditionally been deeply embedded in analyses of the Early Stone Age, and the impact of source rock characteristics on early hominin ranging behavior and technological variation is now widely acknowledged. Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, apart from being one of the most well-known paleoanthropological sites in the world, is also home to a great diversity of potential sources for the production of stone tools. While the lithology and mineralogy of these sources have been well described, quantitative data on inter- and intra-source geochemical and physical characteristics are still rare, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to systematically test models of early human home ranges and raw material selectivity. This project, which builds on a successful pilot study, will carry out quantitative studies of variation in the geochemical (via portable x-ray fluorescence) and physical (via standard engineering tools) characteristics of four primary and three secondary rock sources that presumably served as important supplies of toolstone for Early Pleistocene hominins at Olduvai Gorge.
Willoughby, Dr. Pamela Rae, U. of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada - To aid research on 'The Origins of Behavioral Modernity in Southern Tanzania'
DR. PAMELA R. WILLOUGHBY, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada, received funding in 2008 to aid research on 'The Origins of Behavioral Modernity in Southern Tanzania.' Our species, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa by the beginning of the Middle Stone Age (MSA), around 200,000 years ago and subsequently spread into Eurasia after 40,000 years ago. By this time they are supposed to have developed complex technology, referred to as the Later Stone Age (LSA) or Upper Palaeolithic. It is hard to examine the MSA to LSA transition in Africa, as it is associated with major climate changes and near-extinction of our founders. However, initial research in rockshelters in the Iringa Region of southern Tanzania demonstrated that this area was a focus of settlement throughout both periods. In the 2008 field season, an archaeological survey and more test excavations were carried out. The survey was to determine where people obtained stone for tool manufacture, and how this changed over time. Only LSA and more recent sources were discovered, supporting the idea that MSA people obtained raw materials from far away. Test excavations carried out on the slopes surrounding the Magubike rockshelter showed that there were few intact cultural deposits. But a new 2.5 metre deep sequence with all cultural periods from the MSA onwards was uncovered directly below the main shelter.
Miller, Jennifer Midori and Pamela Rae Willoughby. 2014. Radiometically Date Ostrich Egshell Beads from the Middle and Later Stone Age of Magubike Rockshelter, Southern Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 74:118-122.
Bittner, Katie M., and Pamel R. Willoughby. 2012. Working with Local Communities and Managing Cultural Heritage in Iringa Region, Tanzania. The SAA Archaeological Record 12(4):36-39.
Hlubik, Sarah Kathleen, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Finding Prometheus: A Multi-pronged Approach to the Search for Fire in the Early Pleistocene at FxJj20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Craig Feibel
Preliminary abstract: The search for the first use of fire in the archaeological record has been a topic of contention since the discovery of reddened consolidated sediments at the sites of FxJj20 East and FxJj20 Main at Koobi Fora, Kenya in 1973. Since then work at other contemporaneous sites in East and South Africa have added to the debate over the earliest use of fire by human ancestors, but none have unequivocally answered the question of whether ancient human ancestors controlled fire. Evidence for fire in the region is abundant in the natural record, but association of that fire with human behavior, particularly in open-air settings, has been problematic. The current study proposes to combine chemical, spectral, spatial and magnetic analysis with new excavations at site FxJj20 AB and experimental work to determine whether a signal of fire is present on the site and whether or not it can be associated with human activity. The project will conduct excavation at the FxJj20 AB site, as well as conduct experiments in the signature of fire on open landscapes. During excavation, all cultural material will be collected, as well as samples for micromorphology, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), and magnetic intensity. Similar samples will be collected for experiments to create a reference collection of the signature of fire on an open arid landscape and how that signature degrades over time. This project will contribute a significant amount of knowledge to the study of the origins of fire.
Lyons, Dr. Diane Elaine, U. of Calgary, Calgary, Canada - To aid research on 'Edagahamus Potters and the Identity of Stigma'
DR. DIANE E. LYONS, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, was awarded a grant in October 2008, to aid research on 'Edagahamus Potters and the Identity of Stigma.' In highland Ethiopia, and in many societies in sub-Saharan Africa, artisans are socially marginalized because they are believed to possess dangerous occult powers or because their craft diminishes their social worth. Despite the importance of these practices to the development of social complexity, the history of these practices in Africa is not well understood, partly because the material expression of stigmatized identities are not documented in ways that can be studied by archaeologists. This study investigates the material expressions of the stigmatized identities of female market potters in Tigray State near the market town of Edagahamus in highland Ethiopia. These women experience insults, violence, and discrimination at different levels of political decision-making even though their pots are essential for daily cooking on rural farms. These social practices of stigma are expressed spatially and materially at the household, community, and regional level. In addition, the study determined material ways to identify the Edagahamus pottery-making community fro