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Victoria cabrera site: A middle stone age site at Olduvai gorge, Tanzania

Maíllo-Fernández, José-Manuel; Marín, Juan; Solano-Megías, Irene; Uribelarrea, David; Martín-Perea, David; Aramendi, Julia; Medialdea, Alicia; Arteaga, Carlos; Pernas-Hernández, Marta; Gidna, Agness; Neogi, Sayantani; Baudot, Eva; Narváez, Carlos; Mabulla, Audax

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José-Manuel Maíllo-Fernández

Juan Marín

Irene Solano-Megías

David Uribelarrea

David Martín-Perea

Julia Aramendi

Alicia Medialdea

Carlos Arteaga

Marta Pernas-Hernández

Agness Gidna

Eva Baudot

Carlos Narváez

Audax Mabulla


Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) is a key site for the study and comprehension of human evolution in East Africa. However, the origin of Homo sapiens and the Middle Stone Age have been poorly understood in the Gorge thus far. In this study, we present the dating, taphonomic, technological and typological analyses of the lithic industry and faunal remains excavated at the Victoria Cabrera Site (VCS) during the 2017 fieldwork season. The stratigraphic sequence of the site contains several levels of fluvial origin, some of them with lithic and faunal remains. Most remains (lithics and bones) are affected by rounding processes. Infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) dating has provided ages between 90 and 70 ka BP for these layers that can be related to the Marine Isotope Stage 5a. Lithics are scarce and the dominant raw materials are Naibor Soit quarzite and basalt, followed by phonolite, chert and quartz as the most common raw materials. The lithic technology is based on the production of flakes obtained from prepared cores, with the discoid method and, to a lesser extent the Levallois method being the most frequently used. The retouched blanks are described as “substratum” or “domestic” tools (sidescrapers, notches or denticulates). There is just one heavy duty piece and points are absent. The faunal assemblage includes Alcelaphinae, Antilopinae and Equidae. The major parts of the unidentified faunal remains are size 3 ungulates, followed by carcasses of size 2 and size 4 species. We cannot relate lithic and bones because no cut marks or percussion marks have been identified and carnivore action is scarce. In sum, VCS represents the first accurately dated Middle Stone Age site, with lithic and faunal remains in Olduvai Gorge.


Maíllo-Fernández, J., Marín, J., Solano-Megías, I., Uribelarrea, D., Martín-Perea, D., Aramendi, J., …Mabulla, A. (2019). Victoria cabrera site: A middle stone age site at Olduvai gorge, Tanzania. Quaternary International, 526, 129-154.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 27, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2019
Publication Date Aug 20, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 1, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 29, 2020
Journal Quaternary International
Print ISSN 1040-6182
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 526
Pages 129-154


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