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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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Journal contents:


Vol. 1 (2) 2003

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A. Robert, S. Soriano, M. Rasse, S. Stokes & E. Huysecom

First chrono-cultural reference framework for the West African Paleolithic: new data from Ounjougou, Dogon Country, Mali

Journal of African Archaeology, Vol. 1 (2), 2003, pages 151-169, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10007

Abstract
Evidences of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic human settlements in sub-Saharan West Africa are relatively uncommon, poorly or not even dated, and come from surface sites or secondary stratigraphic context. The discovery, within the international research programme "Palaeoenvironment and human settlement in West Africa", of an impressive Pleistocene sedimentary sequence with numerous archaeological levels in the sector of Ounjougou (Dogon Country, Mali), is thus of great importance, insofar as it allows us to set up a first chrono-cultural reference framework for the West African Palaeolithic. Although the exact chronological position of a Lower Palaeolithic human settlement has yet to be specified, the recurrent Middle Palaeolithic occupation, between the end of marine isotope stage 5 and the beginning of stage 2, reveals an astonishing cultural diversity. This could indicate an important repopulating activity, following climatic and environmental changes during the Upper Pleistocene. Particularly, the appearance of the Levallois reduction technique in Sahelian West Africa, possibly prior to the emergence of the Saharan Aterian, leads us to reconsider the question of the origin of this reduction concept introduction in sub-Saharan West Africa. More generally, the Palaeolithic sequence in the sector of Ounjougou shows the intrusion of more southern and/or eastern cultural influences.

Résumé
Les traces d'occupations humaines du Paléolithique ancien et moyen en Afrique de l'Ouest subsaharienne sont rares, mal ou non datées, et proviennent le plus souvent de sites de surface ou de contextes stratigraphiques secondaires. Dans le cadre du programme de recherche international « Paléoenvironnement et peuplement humain en Afrique de l'Ouest », la découverte dans le secteur d'Ounjougou (Pays dogon, Mali) d'une imposante séquence sédimentaire entrecoupée de nombreux niveaux archéologiques est d'impor- tance, puisqu'elle nous permet d'établir un premier cadre chrono-culturel de référence pour le Paléolithique ouest- africain. Si la place chronologique d'une occupation humaine attribuable au Paléolithique ancien reste à préciser, l'implantation répétée de populations au Paléolithique moyen, entre la fin du stade isotopique 5 et le début du stade 2, révèle d'ores et déjà une étonnante diversité culturelle. Cette situation pourrait être le reflet d'importants renouvellements du peuplement suite à des modifications climatiques et environnementales au Pléistocène supérieur. En particulier, l'apparition de la technique de débitage Levallois en Afrique de l'Ouest subsaharienne, peut-être antérieure à l'émergence de l'Atérien saharien, nous conduit à reconsidérer la question de l'origine de l'introduction de ce concept de débitage. Plus généralement, la séquence paléolithique dans le secteur d'Ounjougou révèle des influences culturelles plus méridionales et/ou orientales.




Keywords: human settlement, Levallois technique, Middle Palaeolithic, Middle Stone Age, West Africa


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Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
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Elena Garcea, Italy
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Scott MacEachern, USA
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David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
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Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

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