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Ages for the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa: Implications for Human Behavior and Dispersal

Abstract

The expansion of modern human populations in Africa 80,000 to 60,000 years ago and their initial
exodus out of Africa have been tentatively linked to two phases of technological and behavioral
innovation within the Middle Stone Age of southern Africa—the Still Bay and Howieson’s Poort
industries—that are associated with early evidence for symbols and personal ornaments.
Establishing the correct sequence of events, however, has been hampered by inadequate
chronologies. We report ages for nine sites from varied climatic and ecological zones across
southern Africa that show that both industries were short-lived (5000 years or less), separated by
about 7000 years, and coeval with genetic estimates of population expansion and exit times.
Comparison with climatic records shows that these bursts of innovative behavior cannot be
explained by environmental factors alone.

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Bibliography

Jacobs, Z., Roberts, R. G., Galbraith, R. F., Deacon, H. J., Grün, R., Mackay, A., Mitchell, P., Vogelsang, R., Wadley, L. (2008): Ages for the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa: Implications for Human Behavior and Dispersal. – In: Science, Vol. 322(5902), p: 733-755

Authors Zenobia Jacobs and Richard G. Roberts and Rex F. Galbraith and Hilary J. Deacon and Rainer Grün and Alex Mackay and Peter Mitchell and Ralf Vogelsang and Lyn Wadley
Type article
Title Ages for the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa: Implications for Human Behavior and Dispersal
Journal Science
Year 2008
Volume 322
Number 5902
Pages 733-755
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