CFEE JOINT SEMINAR: The archaeology of modern human origins

SÉMINAIRE / SEMINAR

Evolution: an international research seminar in Eastern Africa.
Paleobiodiversity, paleobiology, prehistory, paleoenvironments

(2015-2017)

15ème séance / 15th sessionThe archaeology of modern human origins: Perspectives from the Ethiopian Middle Stone Age par/by Yonatan Sahle

Jeudi 14 décembre 2017, 15h30-17h / Thursday, December 14, 2017, 3:30-5:00 PM

Lieu / Venue: Auditorium of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Addis Ababa

The archaeology of modern human origins: Perspectives from the Ethiopian Middle Stone Age


by Yonatan Sahle

Details about the origin, adaptation, and dispersal of Late Pleistocene anatomically modern humans (AMH) are as yet poorly understood. Genetic inferences pertinent to these topics derive entirely from samples representing extant African populations, and hence suffer from a number of methodological limitations. In addition to the lack of pre-Holocene ancient DNA from Africa, the fossil evidence in hand for this period is frustratingly sparse. The early Late Pleistocene archaeological evidence from eastern Africa—a region suggested as the likely source and dispersal route of AMH—is similarly insufficient to allow a meaningful assessment of current inferences. On the contrary, the bulk of such evidence for technological and behavioral patterns commonly associated with the rise and dispersal of AMH derives from the more exhaustively investigated southern South African littoral. Investigating whether complex technological and behavioral innovations triggered / enabled the dispersal of AMH within and out of Africa requires data from the Late Pleistocene of eastern Africa. Here, I present ongoing efforts to address some of the outlined questions. Using previous and newly-recovered lithic and non-lithic assemblages from Middle Stone Age of the Afar and Main Ethiopian Rift,I assess the potential of these assemblages for a fine-grained understanding of the context in which technological and behavioral patterns that are considered complex and “enabling” evolved.

L’intervenant / the speaker

Yonatan SahleDFG Center for Advanced Studies: “Words, Bones, Genes, Tools”, University of Tübingen, Germany.

Organisation: CFEE & Authority for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage (Heritage Collection & Laboratory Service Directorate, Heritage Training Unit).


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