Out of Africa II- Buried under Arabian Sands?

This is a 7 cm long MSA-Bifacial foliate-from our African ancestors. Stone tools have been repeatedly used to reconstruct the “out-of-Africa II” event(s) and Arabia which had a marginal mention in human evolutionary discussions in the past, is now suggested to be the most probable gateway for such dispersals.

One  model of dispersal is based on the archaeological site of Jebel Faya in the United Arab Emirates. Here, stone tools dating to the last interglacial are reported to show strong affinities to MSA lithic technology in eastern and northeastern Africa. The authors base this assessment on the presence of reduction by façonnage which was used for the production of small hand axes and foliate tool forms.As the eastern African MSA around this timeframe was made AHMs, the technological affinities between these regions are interpreted as early dispersals from Africa across the Red sea during times of low sea level and increased rainfall which facilitated the early colonization of Arabia until the Persian Gulf at around ~120 k.a. If true, this would represent one of the earliest identified populations of AHMs outside of Africa, and a support for arguments for an southern migration route of Homo sapiens into Asia and Oceania .

Documentation of so-called “Nubian cores” in southern and central Arabia has been used to infer demographic exchange across the Red Sea, suggesting that modern humans entered the region with this particular technology before 100 k.a.

The hypothesis maintains that the “Nubian technocomplex” in both northeast Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, defined largely on the presence of Nubian cores, reflects the same group of people using this specific reduction technology. While the chronological control over many sites is weak, the slightly later presence of Nubian cores in Arabia is interpreted as evidence for modern humans dispersing from their source area in northeast Africa.

Finally, Mellars  has used the occurrence of microlithic technologies with backed segments in southern and eastern Africa (from HP or “HP- like” sites in these regions) and a later appearance of similar tools in India and Sri Lanka (at Jwalapuram, Patne and Batadomba-lena) to infer population movements out of Africa and along a coastal route by ca. 60–50 k.a.

In all of these cases, the MSA record and its tool stones are used as a baseline “African” signal for the source populations of modern humans that later dispersed to other continents. In other words, supposedly “African” elements of stone artifact technology in non-African contexts are used to infer dispersals out of Africa.

The degree to which lithic artifacts can actually help in tracing migrations in general – and early dispersal of modern humans from Africa to Eurasia in particular – is an open debate.  Recent studies emphasize that a major problem facing such approaches is the fact that similarities in material culture between different areas can arise by three principle pathways: convergence (independent invention; similar local adaptations), diffusion (movement of ideas and objects; cultural exchange) or dispersal (movement of people).

What’s the Nubian Levallois-core technology got to do with “out of Africa ” dispersal and Boker Tachtit?

Paleolithic Foliates in Africa


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