Middle and later stone age chronology of kisese II rockshelter (UNESCO World Heritage Kondoa Rock-Art Sites), Tanzania

Christian A. Tryon, Jason E. Lewis, Kathryn L. Ranhorn, Amandus Kwekason, Bridget Alex, Myra F. Laird, Curtis Marean, Elizabeth Niespolo, Joelle Nivens, Audax Z.P. Mabulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The archaeology of East Africa during the last ~65,000 years plays a central role in debates about the origins and dispersal of modern humans, Homo sapiens. Despite the historical importance of the region to these discussions, reliable chronologies for the nature, tempo, and timing of human behavioral changes seen among Middle Stone Age (MSA) and Later Stone Age (LSA) archaeological assemblages are sparse. The Kisese II rockshelter in the Kondoa region of Tanzania, originally excavated in 1956, preserves a 6-m-thick archaeological succession that spans the MSA/LSA transition, with lithic artifacts such as Levallois and bladelet cores and backed microliths, the recurrent use of red ochre, and >5,000 ostrich eggshell beads and bead fragments. Twenty-nine radiocarbon dates on ostrich eggshell carbonate make Kisese II one of the most robust chronological sequences for understanding archaeological change over the last ~47,000 years in East Africa. In particular, ostrich eggshell beads and backed microliths appear by 46–42 ka cal BP and occur throughout overlying Late Pleistocene and Holocene strata. Changes in lithic technology suggest an MSA/LSA transition that began 39–34.3 ka, with typical LSA technologies in place by the Last Glacial Maximum. The timing of these changes demonstrates the time-transgressive nature of behavioral innovations often linked to the origins of modern humans, even within a single region of Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0192029
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

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Chronology
Tanzania
United Nations
arts
Struthioniformes
Egg Shell
Art
rocks
Rocks
Eastern Africa
Carbonates
ostriches
egg shell
Innovation
Archaeology
Technology
Artifacts
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
carbonates
preserves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Tryon, C. A., Lewis, J. E., Ranhorn, K. L., Kwekason, A., Alex, B., Laird, M. F., ... Mabulla, A. Z. P. (2018). Middle and later stone age chronology of kisese II rockshelter (UNESCO World Heritage Kondoa Rock-Art Sites), Tanzania. PLoS One, 13(2), [e0192029]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192029

Middle and later stone age chronology of kisese II rockshelter (UNESCO World Heritage Kondoa Rock-Art Sites), Tanzania. / Tryon, Christian A.; Lewis, Jason E.; Ranhorn, Kathryn L.; Kwekason, Amandus; Alex, Bridget; Laird, Myra F.; Marean, Curtis; Niespolo, Elizabeth; Nivens, Joelle; Mabulla, Audax Z.P.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 13, No. 2, e0192029, 01.02.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tryon, CA, Lewis, JE, Ranhorn, KL, Kwekason, A, Alex, B, Laird, MF, Marean, C, Niespolo, E, Nivens, J & Mabulla, AZP 2018, 'Middle and later stone age chronology of kisese II rockshelter (UNESCO World Heritage Kondoa Rock-Art Sites), Tanzania', PLoS One, vol. 13, no. 2, e0192029. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192029
Tryon, Christian A. ; Lewis, Jason E. ; Ranhorn, Kathryn L. ; Kwekason, Amandus ; Alex, Bridget ; Laird, Myra F. ; Marean, Curtis ; Niespolo, Elizabeth ; Nivens, Joelle ; Mabulla, Audax Z.P. / Middle and later stone age chronology of kisese II rockshelter (UNESCO World Heritage Kondoa Rock-Art Sites), Tanzania. In: PLoS One. 2018 ; Vol. 13, No. 2.
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