Middle Stone Age reduction strategies at the desert's edge: A multi-site comparison across the Gebel Akhdar of northeast Libya
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Jones, S. (2016). Middle Stone Age reduction strategies at the desert's edge: A multi-site comparison across the Gebel Akhdar of northeast Libya. Quaternary International, 408 53-78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.12.044
Haua Fteah cave, situated between the Mediterranean coast and the Gebel Akhdar of northeast Libya, preserves rich Middle Stone Age (MSA) and Late Stone Age (LSA) cultural horizons. Excavated in the 1950s and more recently, the richness and time-depth of the cave's archaeological record are unsurpassed by any other site in northern Cyrenaica. As a result, the Haua Fteah sequence has long been used to represent the culture history of the region as a whole. Recent geoarchaeological surveys of the Gebel Akhdar, as well as pre-desert and desert biomes further to the south, have resulted in the discovery of numerous MSA and LSA sites. The vast majority of these sites consist of surface lithics that cannot be dated currently. In contrast, parts of the Haua Fteah sequence have been dated using various chronometric methods. Using data collected through lithic attribute analysis, coupled with various statistical approaches (including Discriminant Function Analysis, or DFA), this paper explores variation in core reduction strategies within Haua Fteah from the early MSA to early LSA. Collections of cores from various sites located throughout the landscape are contrasted against those from Haua Fteah. By comparing undated cores from the landscape with those from different occupation phases at Haua Fteah, DFA classification is tested as a method for imparting an approximate chronology to the former. The results indicate notable variation in reduction strategies within the MSA at Haua Fteah, and notable similarities between early MSA ("Pre-Aurignacian") and early LSA ("early Dabban") core morphologies and technologies. Because of the latter in particular, together with several other factors that may be underpinning spatio-temporal variability in core reduction strategies, caution is recommended in loosely assigning approximate chronologies to surface lithic sites.
Society for Libyan Studies (unknown)
European Research Council (230421)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.12.044
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/253174