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