The forgotten Paleolithic heritage of Tunisia (II)


Numerous surface scatters around Gafsa were sampled (mainly by amateurs) through the last 100 years.  Here they found a small sized Acheulian or MSA with small Bifaces made from Flint (as shown in an earlier post: see below).

Eurocentric French researchers 60 years ago, indeed thought that they had found a pendant to the MTA of S/W-France. Formally these Tunisian handaxes would well fit in the MTA technocomplex, although they are surely 100000 years older and therfore a convergent phenomenon.

Strange enough some of the Gafsa surface findings fit into a well-developed Ferrassie Mousterian (Levallois Mousterian with heavily reworked scrapers) characterized by an  astonishing abundance of well-made scrapers, often convergent and multi angled with Quina retouche.

But to make the things even more complicated: a Quina like Mousterian, not known in the Maghreb so far, also seems to be present as shown in this post. This small scatter was found by a Belgian collector during the 1930 and shows discoid cores, a classic Limace and scrapers with a foliate character. There are no indications for a Levallois technical system, so common during the Tunisian MSA.  The small tools (max length: 5 cm)  resemble the Spectrum of the Quina Mousterian in S-France and the Rhone valley, certaily a convergent evolution. One explanation for the Quina characteristics of the ensemble could be the work on small flint pebbles with a good quality- similar to the Italian Pontinian.

In many respects the artefactual spectrum of Tunisia differs from the Maghreb and it wills enormous interesting for the future to evaluate, what were the causes for this “abnormalities “

View to Gafsa (Wikipedia Commons)


The forgotten Paleolithic heritage of Tunisia

The Pontinian: pebble-derived late Middle Paleolithic at the central-western Italian coast

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