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Late Pleistocene artefacts and fauna from Rusinga and Mfangano islands, Lake Victoria, Kenya

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Surveys and excavations in 2009�2011 recovered fossil and artefact assemblages from late Pleistocene sediments on Rusinga and Mfangano islands (Lake Victoria, Kenya). Radiometric age estimates suggest that the Rusinga material dates to between 100 and 33 kya, whereas that from Mfangano may date to ]35 kya. The preservation of a large and diverse suite of vertebrate fossils is unusual for Pleistocene sites in the Lake Victoria region and the composition of the faunal assemblages from both islands strongly suggest an open, arid, grassland setting very different from that found inwesternKenya today.Middle Stone Age(MSA) artefacts fromRusinga and possible Later Stone Age (LSA) or MSA/LSA assemblages from Mfangano are distinct from Lupemban MSA sites characteristic of the Lake Victoria region and instead share a number of typological and technological features with late Pleistocene sites from open grassland settings in the East African Rift System. This highlights the complex roles that shifting environments, as well as temporal change, may have played in the development of regional variation among EquatorialAfrican artefact assemblages in the Pleistocene. Keywords: Middle Stone Age; Later Stone Age; Quaternary; aridity; Lake Victoria
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... On the scale of the African Stone Age, various forms of bifacial technology are present in different regions and phases of the MSA, and from its very beginning (see McBrearty and Brooks 2000;McBrearty 2003;Tryon and Faith 2013). Most prominently, bifacial technology with large and carefully shaped points characterizes the Lupemban of central and eastern Africa at numerous sites (McBrearty 1988;Clark 2001;Taylor 2011Taylor , 2016Tryon et al. 2012;Faith et al. 2016). Bifacially flaked points of various morphologies have also been reported from MSA assemblages in the northeastern central African rainforest (Cornelissen 2016), the early Nubian complex of north-eastern Africa (Van Peer et al. 2003;Van Peer and Vermeersch 2007;Van Peer 2016), the long MSA sequences at Mumba, Goda Buticha and other sites in eastern Africa (McBrearty and Brooks 2000;Bretzke et al. 2006;Leplongeon et al. 2018), the Aterian of North Africa (Garcea 2004;Barton et al. 2009;Dibble et al. 2013;Scerri 2013), the Bambatan of Zimbabwe (Armstrong 1931) and throughout MIS 4-2 in West Africa (Chevrier et al. 2018). ...
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