University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Biological Anthropology Seminar Series > Recent Investigations into the Stone Age site of Isimila, Tanzania

Recent Investigations into the Stone Age site of Isimila, Tanzania

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The Stone Age site of Isimila is located on the Iringa plateau, Tanzania, close to the East African Rift Valley. Due to the abundance of handaxes and giant handaxes present at the site in both primary and secondary contexts, Isimila has long been recognised as a key site of international importance for understanding the behavioural complexity of our hominin ancestors often compared alongside major East African e.g. Kalambo Falls, Olduvai Gorge and Olorgesailie (Kleindienst and Keller 1976; Mcbrearty 1978). Despite the international significance of Isimila, the chronology, taphonomy and geomorphology of the site remain poorly understood, and are in urgent need of re-examination using modern analytical techniques and theoretical perspectives. Previous dating efforts (a single U-series date from a bone sample) gave an age estimate of 260 kya for the site (Howell et al. 1972). However, this date is problematic due to methodological inadequacies and therefore it is timely to undertake a re-characterisation of Isimila. The subject of this paper is to therefore give details of a new OSL and post-IR IRSL dating and raw material provenance programme undertaken at Isimila in 2014 and 2015 that allows, for the first time, a chronological contextualisation of this unique and important Stone Age site within the broader setting of the East African Palaeolithic.

This talk is part of the Biological Anthropology Seminar Series series.

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