How confident are we in the chronology of the transition between Howieson's Poort and Still Bay?

Center for Nuclear Technologies, Technical University of Denmark, DTU Risø Campus, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark. Electronic address: .
Journal of Human Evolution (Impact Factor: 3.73). 04/2013; 64(4):314-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.01.006
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Available from: Guillaume Guérin,
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    • "Whereas the HP is notable for being so short-lived (Jacobs et al., 2008, cf. Gu erin et al., 2013; Tribolo et al., 2013), the South Asian Microlithic overlaps a period of considerable demographic and environmental changes (Deraniyagala, 1992; Atkinson et al., 2008; Clarkson et al., 2009; Petraglia et al., 2009; Perera, 2010; Perera et al., 2011) while remaining dominated by microliths throughout. Here we first discuss previous attempts to compare microlithic industries between the two regions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Here we conduct the first direct metric examination of two early regional manifestations of microlithic industries – the Howiesons Poort of southern Africa (c. 65–60 ka) and the Microlithic industry of South Asia (c. 38–12 ka). Inter-regional comparative analysis of microlithic industries is rare, but can contribute much to our understanding of technological systems in the past. Metric and qualitative variables were recorded on cores, debitage, and tools from Rose Cottage Cave and Umhlatuzana, South Africa, and Batadomba-lena, Sri Lanka, with the aim of conducting a first-stage technological assessment of the degree of technological homogeneity and diversity within these rich microlithic assemblages. The lithic methodology employed here uses the full range of lithic by-products, as opposed to an approach based on tool typology alone. Preliminary analyses reveal areas of significant variation in inter-regional technological strategies. These include differences in blade production and blank selection, variation in microlith typology and morphology, disparate quartz reduction processes designed to produce similar tool types, varying degrees of utilisation of bipolar technology, and the existence of distinct reduction trajectories within sites. The examination of the diversity of microlithic assemblages through the use of detailed technological attribute analyses demonstrates a useful alternative methodology for the way we examine behavioural variability, and is a first step towards a thorough assessment of the place of microliths in models of human dispersals.
    Quaternary International 11/2014; 350. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.013 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    • "According to these new dates [91]–[92] the SB and HP technocomplexes would have a much longer duration than previously envisaged [89], comparable to those of broadly contemporaneous Middle Paleolithic industries in Europe, which show clear spatio-temporal distributions (Table 2, Text S1 Hypothesis 2). Jacobs’ OSL age estimates for the SB and HP are considered controversial by some [93]. More dating work is clearly required, while systematic technological and typological analyses are necessary to dispel doubts about assemblage definition, especially for the MIS 5 occurrences. "
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    ABSTRACT: Neandertals are the best-studied of all extinct hominins, with a rich fossil record sampling hundreds of individuals, roughly dating from between 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. Their distinct fossil remains have been retrieved from Portugal in the west to the Altai area in central Asia in the east and from below the waters of the North Sea in the north to a series of caves in Israel in the south. Having thrived in Eurasia for more than 300,000 years, Neandertals vanished from the record around 40,000 years ago, when modern humans entered Europe. Modern humans are usually seen as superior in a wide range of domains, including weaponry and subsistence strategies, which would have led to the demise of Neandertals. This systematic review of the archaeological records of Neandertals and their modern human contemporaries finds no support for such interpretations, as the Neandertal archaeological record is not different enough to explain the demise in terms of inferiority in archaeologically visible domains. Instead, current genetic data suggest that complex processes of interbreeding and assimilation may have been responsible for the disappearance of the specific Neandertal morphology from the fossil record.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e96424. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0096424 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "It is difficult to evaluate this premise as none of the Indian assemblages have been numerically dated to the same time interval. If modern humans were able to spread into the Indian Subcontinent during MIS 4 times, then we should expect that some microblade sites in the Indian Subcontinent should date even earlier than Mehtakheri, as this technology disappeared from South and East Africa around 60 ka or later [22]. This aspect is being currently explored. "
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    ABSTRACT: We extend the continuity of microblade technology in the Indian Subcontinent to 45 ka, on the basis of optical dating of microblade assemblages from the site of Mehtakheri, (22° 13' 44″ N Lat 76° 01' 36″ E Long) in Madhya Pradesh, India. Microblade technology in the Indian Subcontinent is continuously present from its first appearance until the Iron Age (~3 ka), making its association with modern humans undisputed. It has been suggested that microblade technology in the Indian Subcontinent was developed locally by modern humans after 35 ka. The dates reported here from Mehtakheri show this inference to be untenable and suggest alternatively that this technology arrived in the Indian Subcontinent with the earliest modern humans. It also shows that modern humans in Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia were associated with differing technologies and this calls into question the "southern dispersal" route of modern humans from Africa through India to SE Asia and then to Australia. We suggest that modern humans dispersed from Africa in two stages coinciding with the warmer interglacial conditions of MIS 5 and MIS 3. Competitive interactions between African modern humans and Indian archaics who shared an adaptation to tropical environments differed from that between modern humans and archaics like Neanderthals and Denisovans, who were adapted to temperate environments. Thus, while modern humans expanded into temperate regions during warmer climates, their expansion into tropical regions, like the Indian Subcontinent, in competition with similarly adapted populations, occurred during arid climates. Thus modern humans probably entered the Indian Subcontinent during the arid climate of MIS 4 coinciding with their disappearance from the Middle East and Northern Africa. The out of phase expansion of modern humans into tropical versus temperate regions has been one of the factors affecting the dispersal of modern humans from Africa during the period 200-40 ka.
    PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e69280. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0069280 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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