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The oldest Homo erectus buried lithic horizon from the Eastern Saharan Africa. EDAR 7 - an Acheulean assemblage with Kombewa method from the Eastern Desert, Sudan

Masojć, Mirosław; Kim, Ju Yong; Krupa-Kurzynowska, Joanna; Sohn, Young Kwan; Ehlert, Maciej; Michalec, Grzegorz; Cendrowska, Marzena; Andrieux, Eric; Armitage, Simon J.; Szmit, Marcin; Dreczko, Ewa; Kim, Jin Cheul; Kim, Ji Sung; Lee, Gwang-Soo; Moska, Piotr; Jadain, Modather Abdalla

The oldest Homo erectus buried lithic horizon from the Eastern Saharan Africa. EDAR 7 - an Acheulean assemblage with Kombewa method from the Eastern Desert, Sudan Thumbnail


Authors

Mirosław Masojć

Ju Yong Kim

Joanna Krupa-Kurzynowska

Young Kwan Sohn

Maciej Ehlert

Grzegorz Michalec

Marzena Cendrowska

Simon J. Armitage

Marcin Szmit

Ewa Dreczko

Jin Cheul Kim

Ji Sung Kim

Gwang-Soo Lee

Piotr Moska

Modather Abdalla Jadain



Abstract

Although essential for reconstructing hominin behaviour during the Early Palaeolithic, only a handful of Acheulean sites have been dated in the Eastern Sahara region. This is due to the scarcity of sites for this time period and the lack of datable material. However, recent excavations in the Atbara region (Sudan) have provided unique opportunities to analyse and date Acheulean stone tools. We report here on EDAR 7, part of a cluster of Acheulean and Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites that were recently discovered in the Eastern Desert Atbara River (EDAR) region, located in the Eastern Desert (Sudan) far from the Nile valley. At EDAR 7, a 3.5 metre sedimentary sequence was excavated, allowing an Acheulean assemblage to be investigated using a combination of sedimentology, stone tool studies and optically stimulated luminescence dating (OSL). The site has delivered a complete Acheulean knapping chaine opératoire, providing new information about the Saharan Acheulean. The EDAR 7 site is interpreted as a remnant of a campsite based on the co-occurrence of two reduction modes: one geared towards the production of Large Cutting Tools (LCTs), and the other based on the flaking of small debitage and production of flake tools. Particularly notable in the EDAR 7 assemblage is the abundance of cleavers, most of which display evidence of flake production. Implementation of giant Kombewa flakes was also observed. A geometric morphometric analysis of hand-axes was conducted to verify a possible Late Acheulean assemblage standardisation in the Nubian Sahara. In addition, the analysis of micro-traces and wear on the artefacts has provided information on the use history of the Acheulean stone tools. Sediment analyses and OSL dating show that the EDAR 7 sequence contains the oldest Acheulean encampment remains in the Eastern Sahara, dated to the MIS 11 or earlier. This confirms that Homo erectus occupied the EDAR region during Middle Pleistocene humid periods, and demonstrates that habitable corridors existed between the Ethiopian Highlands, the Nile and the Red Sea coast, allowing population dispersals across the continent and out of it.

Citation

Masojć, M., Kim, J. Y., Krupa-Kurzynowska, J., Sohn, Y. K., Ehlert, M., Michalec, G., …Jadain, M. A. (2021). The oldest Homo erectus buried lithic horizon from the Eastern Saharan Africa. EDAR 7 - an Acheulean assemblage with Kombewa method from the Eastern Desert, Sudan. PLoS ONE, 16(3), Article e0248279. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0248279

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 23, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 23, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Oct 11, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 12, 2021
Journal PLoS ONE
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
Article Number e0248279
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0248279

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Copyright Statement
This is an open
access article distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original
author and source are credited.





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