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.
Manthi, Dr. Fredrick Kyalo, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya - To aid research on 'A Further Investigation for Microfauna in the Plio-Pleistocene Hominin Sites of Northwestern Kenya'
DR. FREDRICK KYALO MANTHI, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya, received funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'A Further Investigation for Microfauna in the Plio-Pleistocene Hominin Sites of Northwestern Kenya.' Mammalian remains have a number of features that make them important in ecological studies. In order to recover macro- and micromammalian fauna for reconstructing the environmental contexts in which Plio-Pleistocene hominins lived and also understand the evolutionary trajectories of mammalian species during this time period, a number of hominin sites in the Nachukui Formation, northwestern Kenya, were recently investigated. These sites include those that occur along the Lomekwi, Nachukui, and Nariokotome drainage systems. Work in these sites included surface surveys, and sieving of back-dirt sediments from earlier excavations so as to recover microfaunal remains that may have passed through the course sieves that were employed during theses excavations. Although some unidentifiable bone fragments of macrofauna were recovered from the sieving of the back-dirt sediments, no microfauna were recovered. The surface surveys resulted in the recovery of 245 fossil specimens, including a maxilla fragment that has been attributed to Homo sp. Another 59 fragmentary dental elements belonging to Elephantidae, Suidae, and Equidae were also collected for isotopic studies in order to contribute towards understanding the environmental contexts during the Plio-Pleistocene. Overall, elements attributable to Bovidae, Suidae, Equidae, and Cercopithecidae exhibited a higher representation relative to those of other taxa.
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.
Bugarin, Dr. Flordeliz T., George Washington U., Washington, D.C. - To aid research and writing on 'The Archaeology of Trade: Economic and Cultural Changes on the South African Xhosa Frontier' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
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.