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Implications of Nubian-Like Core Reduction Systems in Southern Africa for the Identification of Early Modern Human Dispersals.

Will M, Mackay A, Phillips N - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Convergence in lithic systems has the potential to confound such interpretations, implying connections between unrelated groups.Due to their reductive nature, stone artefacts are unusually prone to this chance appearance of similar forms in unrelated populations.Here we present data from the South African Middle Stone Age sites Uitpanskraal 7 and Mertenhof suggesting that Nubian core reduction systems associated with Late Pleistocene populations in North Africa and potentially with early human migrations out of Africa in MIS 5 also occur in southern Africa during early MIS 3 and with no clear connection to the North African occurrence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, University of Tubingen, Tübingen, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Lithic technologies have been used to trace dispersals of early human populations within and beyond Africa. Convergence in lithic systems has the potential to confound such interpretations, implying connections between unrelated groups. Due to their reductive nature, stone artefacts are unusually prone to this chance appearance of similar forms in unrelated populations. Here we present data from the South African Middle Stone Age sites Uitpanskraal 7 and Mertenhof suggesting that Nubian core reduction systems associated with Late Pleistocene populations in North Africa and potentially with early human migrations out of Africa in MIS 5 also occur in southern Africa during early MIS 3 and with no clear connection to the North African occurrence. The timing and spatial distribution of their appearance in southern and northern Africa implies technological convergence, rather than diffusion or dispersal. While lithic technologies can be a critical guide to human population flux, their utility in tracing early human dispersals at large spatial and temporal scales with stone artefact types remains questionable.

No MeSH data available.


Distribution of artefacts in the main area at UPK7, with a focus on silcrete (white circles), unifacial points (nested triangles), and cores with Nubian characteristics (nested circles).
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pone.0131824.g006: Distribution of artefacts in the main area at UPK7, with a focus on silcrete (white circles), unifacial points (nested triangles), and cores with Nubian characteristics (nested circles).

Mentions: The distribution of artefacts at UPK7 reveals distinct high density clustering in the south east quadrant of the analysed area (Fig 6). This high density area is notably silcrete-rich. Fourteen unifacial points were recorded in this area, while a further four were identified in the lower density fringes of the main concentration. Here and below, we refer to all convergent flakes (or point blanks) with dorsal-only retouch as unifacial points, as is common in southern African nomenclature. We mapped and analysed 31 preferential Levallois cores with possible Nubian characteristics in this main sample area (Figs 6 and 7), with a further five such cores being identified in surrounding parts of the site.


Implications of Nubian-Like Core Reduction Systems in Southern Africa for the Identification of Early Modern Human Dispersals.

Will M, Mackay A, Phillips N - PLoS ONE (2015)

Distribution of artefacts in the main area at UPK7, with a focus on silcrete (white circles), unifacial points (nested triangles), and cores with Nubian characteristics (nested circles).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4488358&req=5

pone.0131824.g006: Distribution of artefacts in the main area at UPK7, with a focus on silcrete (white circles), unifacial points (nested triangles), and cores with Nubian characteristics (nested circles).
Mentions: The distribution of artefacts at UPK7 reveals distinct high density clustering in the south east quadrant of the analysed area (Fig 6). This high density area is notably silcrete-rich. Fourteen unifacial points were recorded in this area, while a further four were identified in the lower density fringes of the main concentration. Here and below, we refer to all convergent flakes (or point blanks) with dorsal-only retouch as unifacial points, as is common in southern African nomenclature. We mapped and analysed 31 preferential Levallois cores with possible Nubian characteristics in this main sample area (Figs 6 and 7), with a further five such cores being identified in surrounding parts of the site.

Bottom Line: Convergence in lithic systems has the potential to confound such interpretations, implying connections between unrelated groups.Due to their reductive nature, stone artefacts are unusually prone to this chance appearance of similar forms in unrelated populations.Here we present data from the South African Middle Stone Age sites Uitpanskraal 7 and Mertenhof suggesting that Nubian core reduction systems associated with Late Pleistocene populations in North Africa and potentially with early human migrations out of Africa in MIS 5 also occur in southern Africa during early MIS 3 and with no clear connection to the North African occurrence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, University of Tubingen, Tübingen, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Lithic technologies have been used to trace dispersals of early human populations within and beyond Africa. Convergence in lithic systems has the potential to confound such interpretations, implying connections between unrelated groups. Due to their reductive nature, stone artefacts are unusually prone to this chance appearance of similar forms in unrelated populations. Here we present data from the South African Middle Stone Age sites Uitpanskraal 7 and Mertenhof suggesting that Nubian core reduction systems associated with Late Pleistocene populations in North Africa and potentially with early human migrations out of Africa in MIS 5 also occur in southern Africa during early MIS 3 and with no clear connection to the North African occurrence. The timing and spatial distribution of their appearance in southern and northern Africa implies technological convergence, rather than diffusion or dispersal. While lithic technologies can be a critical guide to human population flux, their utility in tracing early human dispersals at large spatial and temporal scales with stone artefact types remains questionable.

No MeSH data available.