78,000-year-old record of Middle and Later Stone Age innovation in an East African tropical forest

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Shipton, Ceri; Roberts, Patrick; Archer, Will; Armitage, Simon J.; Bita, Caesar; Blinkhorn, James; Courtney-Mustaphi, Colin; Crowther, Alison; Curtis, Richard; Errico, Francesco d’; Douka, Katerina; Faulkner, Patrick; Groucutt, Huw S.; Helm, Richard; Herries, Andy I. R.; Jembe, Severinus; Kourampas, Nikos; Lee-Thorp, Julia; Marchant, Rob; Mercader, Julio; Marti, Africa Pitarch; Prendergast, Mary E.; Rowson, Ben; Tengeza, Amini; Tibesasa, Ruth; White, Tom S.; Petraglia, Michael D.; Boivin, Nicole
Year of Publication: 2018
Journal: Nature Communications
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Pagination: 1832
Date Published: 2018/05/09
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 2041-1723

The Middle to Later Stone Age transition in Africa has been debated as a significant shift in human technological, cultural, and cognitive evolution. However, the majority of research on this transition is currently focused on southern Africa due to a lack of long-term, stratified sites across much of the African continent. Here, we report a 78,000-year-long archeological record from Panga ya Saidi, a cave in the humid coastal forest of Kenya. Following a shift in toolkits ~67,000 years ago, novel symbolic and technological behaviors assemble in a non-unilinear manner. Against a backdrop of a persistent tropical forest-grassland ecotone, localized innovations better characterize the Late Pleistocene of this part of East Africa than alternative emphases on dramatic revolutions or migrations.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04057-3
Short Title: Nature Communications