Liane Giemsch

Subsistence and land use of early Middle Pleistocene hominids in northern Tanzania.

Present research in archaeology and palaeoanthropology document an anatomical modernization process among hominins in the African Middle Pleistocene, which chronologically parallels Neanderthal evolution in Europe. Different evolutionary pressures in Africa, potentially caused by environmental factors, may have led to the evolution of Homo sapiens and his culture. In this study, Lower Paleolithic remains of Middle Pleistocene hominids at Makuyuni, east of Lake Manyara in North Tanzania are examined to investigate the subsistence behavior of our ancestors. This study focuses on the composition of the artifact inventories, a chronological classification, site development and landscape relations among different sites at the locality. For structural site analysis we carry out a three-dimensional documentation of site topography and assessment of surface finds, including small-scale excavations to identify the stratigraphic context. Artifact analysis, involving typlogical criteria and metric parameters improve chronological classification of the sites and artifact assemblages. It may moreover permit to identify potential functions. The context of the different find categories and potentially regular distributions of the sites in relation to the Pleistocene landscape provide important new insights for subsistence strategies and environment of the early Middle Pleistocene hominids in northern Tansania.

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn

dissertation

"Makuyuni. Fundstellen des Acheuléen am Lake Manyara, Tansania. Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der mittelpleistozänen Kultur in Ostafrika"

published:
Tübinger Arbeiten zur Urgeschichte, Rahden/Westfalen: Verlag Marie Leidorf

Abstract:
Basing on previous work of the “Hominid Corridor Research Project” further studies on the Early Stone Age of Northern Tanzania were conducted and revealed 52 new find localities. 42 of them produced different amounts of Palaeolithic artefacts, altogether 1,337 specimens. The majority of Early Palaeolithic find sites is situated south of the village of Makuyuni on either side of the homonymous river and its tributaries. For the determination of the stratigraphic origin of the surface finds, trial trenches were dug at selected spots. For MK 91 and 101 it turned out that the finds came from the Lower/Upper-Member contact zone of the Manyara Beds with two hominid remains and some artefacts indicating the use of the shore line of Lake Manyara during the early Middle Pleistocene. The stone artifacts were analysed as to quality and quantity and subjected to statistical methods and presentation. A chronology was obtained from the composition of find categories, technology, flake scar count, and the dimension and shape of handaxes. This revealed several cultural horizons of the Middle to early Late Acheulean from 630,000 to at least 270,000 with a focus in the Middle Acheulean [630,000 to 400,000].

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