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Journal Article

90,000 year-old specialised bone technology in the Aterian Middle Stone Age of North Africa


Bouzouggar,  Abdeljalil       
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Bouzouggar, A., Humphrey, L. T., Barton, N., Parfitt, S. A., Balzan, L. C., Schwenninger, J.-L., et al. (2018). 90,000 year-old specialised bone technology in the Aterian Middle Stone Age of North Africa. PLoS One, 13(10): e0202021. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202021.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-6367-B
The question of cognitive complexity in early Homo sapiens in North Africa is intimately tied to the emergence of the Aterian culture (~145 ka). One of the diagnostic indicators of cognitive complexity is the presence of specialised bone tools, however significant uncertainty remains over the manufacture and use of these artefacts within the Aterian techno-complex. In this paper we report on a bone artefact from Aterian Middle Stone Age (MSA) deposits in Dar es-Soltan 1 cave on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. It comes from a layer that can be securely dated to ~90 ka. The typological characteristics of this tool, which suggest its manufacture and use as a bone knife, are comparatively similar to other bone artefacts from dated Aterian levels at the nearby site of El Mnasra and significantly different from any other African MSA bone technology. The new find from Dar es-Soltan 1 cave combined with those from El Mnasra suggest the development of a bone technology unique to the Aterian.