Title of the session

UNIFYING AND CONTRASTING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MSA AND EARLY LSA IN EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA FROM THE LAST INTERGLACIAL TO THE LGM

Session Organizer(s)

Gregor D. Bader
Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment,
University of Tübingen, Germany.
Email: gregor.bader@uni-tuebingen.de

Pastory Bushozi,
University of Dar Es Salaam, College of Humanities, Tanzania.
Email: pbushozi@udsm.ac.tz

Nicholas J. Conard,
Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology,
University of Tübingen, Germany.
Email: nicholas.conard@uni-tuebingen.de

Delivery format

Podium

Nature of a session

Open for Contributions

Session abstract

This session seeks to examine the current state of research in East and southern Africa in the period from the last interglacial to the LGM to identify unifying elements and regional variability at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Research over the past years has shown that in some parts of southern Africa, both, unifacial and bifacial shaping technology as well as backed tools are present in the terminal MSA. In East Africa, those technologies are common in several cultural expressions. In our session, we ask how far the historical emphasis on bifacial and backed artifacts and their strong association with Still Bay and Howiesons Poort is justified when examining the record of technological change in the MSA on a broader regional, and temporal scale. Further, we question to what extend researchers are able to identify forces driving technological change in lithic and organic assemblages. The session also examines spatial and temporal patterns of symbolic artefacts such as beads, marked objects and later figurative representations to determine if they covary with changing lithic and organic technology. Finally, participants are invited to critically examine the extent to which the change from the MSA to the LSA represents a meaningful and well-defined shift in the archaeological record in East and southern Africa or a historical construct losing significance in the light of ongoing research.

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