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New insights on the Middle Stone Age of Eastern Africa

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Anna Mika.


Eastern Africa maintains a key position in debates surrounding the evolution of Homo sapiens. Extensive research in the region has revealed a rich fossil and Middle Stone Age (MSA) record, providing an important laboratory to test hypotheses about the evolution of our species, especially in relation to paleoclimatic change. Multiple archaeological studies of the eastern African MSA note a link between the distribution of sites, hominin diversity and environmental conditions. This talk will review the archaeological and climatic records Middle-Late Pleistocene eastern Africa and discusses their implications for understanding the evolution of Homo sapiens. Drawing upon my own research, I will discuss the potential of the region as a refugial zone within Pleistocene Africa, likely providing consistently suitable conditions for survival that were characterised by high biodiversity, allowing population persistence as well as material culture diversification. I will also explore the interplay between evolutionary processes that may have resulted in the complex patterns observed throughout the African MSA record, including the appearance of ‘specific’ innovations against a backdrop of more ‘generic’ MSA elements.

This talk is part of the PalMeso Seminar Series series.

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