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Journal Article

Continuity of the Middle Stone Age into the Holocene

MPS-Authors
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Scerri,  Eleanor M. L.
Lise Meitner Pan-African Evolution Research Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Blinkhorn,  James
Lise Meitner Pan-African Evolution Research Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Cerasoni,  Jacopo Niccolò
Lise Meitner Pan-African Evolution Research Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Crowther,  Alison
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Groucutt,  Huw S.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Scerri, E. M. L., Niang, K., Candy, I., Blinkhorn, J., Mills, W., Cerasoni, J. N., et al. (2021). Continuity of the Middle Stone Age into the Holocene. Scientific Reports, 11(1): 70. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-79418-4.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-B3F3-C
Abstract
The African Middle Stone Age (MSA, typically considered to span ca. 300–30 thousand years ago [ka]), represents our species’ first and longest lasting cultural phase. Although the MSA to Later Stone Age (LSA) transition is known to have had a degree of spatial and temporal variability, recent studies have implied that in some regions, the MSA persisted well beyond 30 ka. Here we report two new sites in Senegal that date the end of the MSA to around 11 ka, the youngest yet documented MSA in Africa. This shows that this cultural phase persisted into the Holocene. These results highlight significant spatial and temporal cultural variability in the African Late Pleistocene, consistent with genomic and palaeoanthropological hypotheses that significant, long-standing inter-group cultural differences shaped the later stages of human evolution in Africa.