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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 3 (1) 2005

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D. Pleurdeau

The lithic assemblage of the 1975-1976 excavation of the Porc-Epic Cave, Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia. Implications for the East African Middle Stone Age

Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 3 (1), 2005, pages 117-126, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10040

Abstract
I provide a qualitative study of the unpublished portions of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) lithic assemblage from the Porc-Epic cave site in Ethiopia, presently conserved at the National Museum of Ethiopia (NME), in Addis Ababa.
Previous investigation of all the lithic material collected during the 1933 excavations resulted in an in-depth technological study, revealing its important technical variability, and integrated this material into a regional and continental context. The focus here are the 1975-76 excavations at Porc-Epic Cave, which have provided a collection of several tens of thousands of stone tools, forming the majority of the total lithic material of the cave. This collection, never before studied, published, or inventoried, is stored at the NME in Addis Ababa. It is remarkable for its quantitative importance and its relevance to Ethiopian heritage, as well as for its scientific interest concerning the behaviour of modern humans more than 70,000 years ago.

Résumé
La grotte du Porc-Epic en Ethiopie, avec ses dizaines de milliers de restes lithiques et fauniques, demeure un témoin important du comportement des hommes modernes durant le Middle Stone Age (MSA), période culturelle charnière, contemporaine de l'émergence et la dispersion d'homo sapiens en Afrique. Je présente ici une analyse qualitative et préliminaire des assemblages lithiques MSA inédits de Porc-Epic conservés au National Museum of Ethiopia (NME) à Addis Abeba.
Dans le cadre d'études antérieures, tout le matériel lithique récolté lors des fouilles de 1933 a fait l'objet d'une analyse technologique qui a permis en particulier de mettre en évidence une variabilité technique importante et ainsi d'amorcer l'intégration du matériel dans un contexte régional et continental. Cependant, la campagne de fouilles de 1975-76 a mis au jour des dizaines de milliers de pièces lithiques. Cette collection, jamais étudiée, publiée ni même inventoriée jusqu'alors, est conservée au NME à Addis Abeba. Elle revêt, par son importance quantitative, un caractère particulier en terme de sauvegarde et mise en valeur du patrimoine éthiopien ainsi qu'en terme d'intérêt scientifique sur le comportement des hommes modernes il y a plus de 70 ka.




Keywords: Horn of Africa, Middle Stone Age, Porc-Epic cave, technical variability


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Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
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David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
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Robert Vernet, France
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