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Goda Buticha (Ethiopie) ou le fantôme de la transition du Middle au Later Stone Age

Abstract : Goda Buticha (“Cave of Ghosts” in the local Afaan Oromoo language), located near Dire Dawa in Eastern Ethiopia is one of the few sites documenting Late Pleistocene and Holocene human occupation in the Horn of Africa. Its preserved long stratigraphical sequence (more than 2 meters deep) records human presence from ~63 ka, and highlights a major chronological gap from ~23 ka to 8 ka, which prevents (as it is the case for other sites in the region) a direct documentation of the transition from the Middle to the Later Stone Age. However, it raises important issues in terms of cultural (dis)continuity between the late Pleistocene and Mid-Holocene in the Horn. Beyond the technical features described at the site, the results from the comparative analysis are integrated with the chronological, sedimentological and palaeoenvironmental studies, and discussed at the regional scale. The lithic assemblage from the lower units of Goda Buticha (~63-23 ka) are characterised by typical MSA features, such as the use of Levallois flaking system and retouched points. High frequencies of elongated blanks may recall the MSA assemblage of Porc-Epic but the assemblage at Goda Buticha differs from the one of Porc-Epic by a more frequent use of obsidian and a trend towards the production of smaller blanks. These results highlight the variability within the Late Pleistocene MSA in the Horn of Africa. The assemblages from the upper layers (mid-Holocene) at Goda Buticha offer a complex picture, with the occurrence of both MSA and LSA features. They may represent very local adaptations, reintroduction of MSA characteristics within an LSA context or continuity into recent periods. It is interesting to note that the nearby terminal Pleistocene levels of Laas Geel shelter 7 are also characterised by such a combination of MSA and LSA features. The results add to the evidence for great variability of lithic technologies across Africa at the end of the Pleistocene and Holocene and may have implications for major questions, central to the understanding of this period: adaptation to climatic instability (the “Big Dry”) and population movements allowing us to highlight great cultural diversity whether linked with spatial ("regional identity"), or temporal (Early vs Late MSA) variability. Therefore, the LMSA of the Horn appears not to be a monolithic entity, and, in its variability as well as in its features represents a behavioural patchwork, which makes its integration into the general models of the H. s. dispersals during the Late Pleistocene difficult. It also and mostly highlights the need to continue first working in smaller scale units, and questions the MIS 3 & 2 human occupations at a local scale.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 2:24:10 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 7, 2022 - 6:06:19 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02402425, version 1


Pleurdeau David, Erella Hovers, Alice Leplongeon, Asfawossen Asrat, Zelalem Assefa, et al.. Goda Buticha (Ethiopie) ou le fantôme de la transition du Middle au Later Stone Age. Dynamiques culturelles et transformation des paysages dans un continent en mutation : du Big Dry à l’Holocène dans l’Est africain, Sep 2019, Toulouse, France. ⟨hal-02402425⟩



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