Advertisement

African Archaeological Review

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 41–82 | Cite as

The Upper Pleistocene and early Holocene prehistory of the Horn of Africa

  • Steven A. Brandt
Article

Abstract

The last major synthesis of the Upper Pleistocene and early Holocene prehistory of the Horn was published over thirty years ago. This paper therefore attempts critically to review the current state of knowledge and research pertaining to Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age hunter/gatherer culture history and adaptation in the region that now encompasses Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Although the archaeological record still suffers from major gaps in information, chronometric analyses as well as subsistence, settlement and other behavioural data from stratified excavated sites have begun to reveal the Horn's potential for providing important contributions to understanding late Quaternary hunter/gatherer cultural development.

Keywords

Cultural Study Behavioural Data Cultural Development Archaeological Record Culture History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Résumé

Plus de trente ans se sont écoulés depuis la parution de la dernière grande synthèse sur la préhistoire de la Corne de l'Afrique au Pléistocène Supérieur et au début de l'Holocène. Cet article essaie donc de passer en revue de façon critique l'état actuel des connaissances et la recherche sur l'histoire culturelle et sur l'adaptation ‘Middle Stone Age’ et ‘Later Stone Age’ dans la région qui comprend la Somalie, l'Ethiopie et le Djibouti. Bien que les documents archéologiques souffrent encore de lacunes majeures en ce qui concerne les informations, les analyses chronométriques et les moyens de subsistance, des données sur les habitations et sur d'autres aspects du comportement obtenus de gisements stratifiés fouillés ont commencé à dévoiler que la Corne pourra éventuellement fournir des contributions importantes à notre compréhension du développement culturel des chasseurs-cueilleurs du Quaternaire final.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Albritton, C. C. 1974. Geological setting. InA Middle Stone Age Sequence from the Central Rift Valley, Ethiopia (eds F. Wendorf and R. Schild): pp. 15–27. Warsaw: Ossolineum.Google Scholar
  2. Ambrose, S. H. 1984. The introduction of pastoral adaptations to the highlands of East Africa. InFrom Hunters to Farmers: The Causes and Consequences of Food Production in Africa (eds J. D. Clark and S. A. Brandt): pp. 212–39. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bailloud, G. 1965. Les gisements paléolithiques de Melka-Kunture (Choa).Cahiers de l'Institut Ethiopien d'Archéologie, 1.Google Scholar
  4. Binford, L. 1980. Willow smoke and dogs' tails: hunter-gatherer settlement systems and archaeological site formation.American Antiquity 45:4–20.Google Scholar
  5. Blanc, A. C. 1955. L'industrie sur obsidienne des Iles Dahlac, Mer rouge. InActes du II Congrès Panafricain de Préhistoire (ed. L. Balout): pp. 355–57. Paris: Arts et Métiers Graphiques.Google Scholar
  6. Bonnefille, R., Gasse, F., Azema, C. and Denefle, M. 1979. Palynologie et interpretation paléoclimatique de trois niveaux Pleistocene superieur d'un sondage du lac Abhe (Afar-Territoire de Djibouti).Mem. Mus. natn. Hist. nat. 27:149–64.Google Scholar
  7. Brain, C. K. 1981.The Hunters or the Hunted? Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Brandt, S. A. 1980. Archaeological investigations at Lake Besaka, Ethiopia. InProceedings Eighth Panafrican Congress of Prehistory and Quaternary Studies. (eds R. E. F. Leakey and B. A. Ogot): pp. 239–43. Nairobi: TILLMIAP.Google Scholar
  9. Brandt, S. A. 1981.Report of a Paleoanthropological Reconnaissance of Somalia. (Unpublished report to the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation).Google Scholar
  10. Brandt, S. A. 1982.A Late Quaternary Cultural/Environmental Sequence from Lake Besaka, Southern Afar, Ethiopia. (Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley). Ann Arbor: University Microfilms.Google Scholar
  11. Brandt, S. A. 1984. New perspectives on the origins of food production in Ethiopia. InFrom Hunters to Farmers: The Causes and Consequences of Food Production in Africa. (eds J. D. Clark and S. A. Brandt): pp. 173–90. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Brandt, S. A., and Brook, G. A. 1984. Archaeological and Paleoenvironmental Research in Northern Somalia.Current Anthropology 25:119–21.Google Scholar
  13. Brandt, S. A., Brook, G. A., and Gresham, T. H. 1984. Quaternary paleoenivironments and prehistoric human occupation of northern Somalia. InProceedings Second International Congress of Somali Studies vol. II (ed. T. Labahn): pp. 7–22. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.Google Scholar
  14. Brauer, G. 1984. A craniological approach to the origin of anatomically modernHomo sapiens in Africa and implications for the appearance of modern Europeans. InThe Origins of Modern Humans: A World Survey of the Fossil Record. (eds F. H. Smith and F. Spencer): pp. 327–410. New York: Alan R. Liss.Google Scholar
  15. Breuil, H., Teilhard de Chardin, P. and Wernert, P. 1951. Le paléolithique du Harar.L'Anthropologie 55:219–30.Google Scholar
  16. Brown, F. H. 1975. Barbed bone points from the lower Omo valley.Azania 10:144–48.Google Scholar
  17. Butzer, K. W. 1982.Archaeology as Human Ecology: method and theory for a contextual approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Butzer, K. W., Brown, F. H. and Thurber, D. L. 1969. Horizontal sediments of the lower Omo valley: the Kibish Formation.Quaternaria 11:15–29.Google Scholar
  19. Cashdan, E. A. 1980. Egalitarianism among hunters and gatherers.American Anthropologist 82:116–20.Google Scholar
  20. Chavaillon, J. 1980. Chronologie archéologique de Melka-Kunture, Ethiopie (fouilles 1972–1976). InProceedings Eighth Panafrican Congress of Prehistory and Quaternary Studies (eds R. E. F. Leakey and B. A. Ogot): pp. 200–01. Nairobi: TILLMIAP.Google Scholar
  21. Chavaillon, J. and Boisaubert, J. L. 1977. Prospection archéologique dans le Gemu-Gofa.Abbay 8:3–10.Google Scholar
  22. Chavaillon, J., Chavaillon, N., Hours, F. and Piperno, M. 1979. From the Oldowan to the Middle Stone Age at Melka-Kunture (Ethiopia): understanding cultural changes.Quaternaria 21:87–114.Google Scholar
  23. Clark, J. D. 1954.The Prehistoric Cultures of the Horn of Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Clark, J. D. 1972.The Prehistoric Cultures of the Horn of Africa (reprint). New York: Octagon Books.Google Scholar
  25. Clark, J. D. 1982. The cultures of the Middle Palaeolithic/Middle Stone Age. InThe Cambridge History of Africa vol. 1, (ed. J. D. Clark): pp. 248–341. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Clark, J. D. and Prince, G. R. 1978. Use-wear on Later Stone Age microliths from Laga Oda, Harraghi, Ethiopia, and possible functional interpretations.Azania 13:101–10.Google Scholar
  27. Clark, J. D. and Williams, M. A. J. 1975.Archaeological and Palaeo-Ecological Field Studies in East-Central Ethiopia (January through March 1974). Unpublished Report to the U.S. National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
  28. Clark, J. D. and Williams, M. A. J. 1978. Recent archaeological research in southeastern Ethiopia (1974–1975): some preliminary results.Annales d'Ethiopie 11:19–44.Google Scholar
  29. Clark, J. D. and Williamson, K. D. 1984. A Middle Stone Age occupation site at Porc Epic cave, Dire Dawa (east-central Ethiopia). Part I.African Archaeological Review 2:37–64.Google Scholar
  30. Clarke, D. L. 1976. Mesolithic Europe: the economic basis. InProblems in Economic and Social Archaeology (eds G. Sieveking, I. H. Longworth and K. E. Wilson): pp. 449–82. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  31. Dalrymple, G. B. 1969.40Ar/36Ar analyses of historic lava flows.Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6:47–55.Google Scholar
  32. Deacon, J. 1984. Later Stone Age people and their descendents in southern Africa. InSouthern African Prehistory and Paleoenvironments (ed. R. G. Klein): pp. 221–328. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.Google Scholar
  33. Dechant, D. and Crader, D. 1982. The faunal remains from Lake Besaka. InA Late Quaternary Cultural/Environmental Sequence from Lake Besaka, Southern Afar, Ethiopia. Appendix A. (S. A. Brandt): pp. 332–82. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  34. Dennell, R. 1983. A new chronology for the Mousterian.Nature 301:199–200.Google Scholar
  35. Dyson-Hudson, R., and Smith, E. A. 1978. Human territoriality: an ecological reassessment.American Anthropologist 80:21–41.Google Scholar
  36. Ferry, R. 1981. L'archéologie à Djibouti.Archéologia 60:48–52.Google Scholar
  37. Gallagher, J. 1973. Preliminary report on archaeological research near Lake Zuai, Ethiopia.Annales d'Ethiopie 9:64–80.Google Scholar
  38. Gallagher, J. P. 1977.Ethnoarchaeological and Prehistoric Investigations in the Ethiopian Central Rift Valley. Ph.D. thesis, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.Google Scholar
  39. Gasse, F. and Rognon, P. 1973. Le Quaternaire des bassins lacustres de l'Afar.Revue Géogr. Phys. Géol. Dyn. 15:405–14.Google Scholar
  40. Gasse, F., Rognon, R. and Street, F. A. 1980. Quaternary history of the Afar and Ethiopian Rift lakes. InThe Sahara and the Nile (eds M. A. J. Williams and H. Faure): pp. 361–400. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.Google Scholar
  41. Gasse, F. and Street, F. A. 1978. Late Quaternary lake-level fluctuations and environments of the northern Rift Valley and Afar Region (Ethiopia and Djibouti).Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 24:279–325.Google Scholar
  42. Gautier, A. 1974. Some mammalian remains from a fossil wadi near the base of the Gademotta Formation. InA Middle Stone Age Sequence from the Central Rift Valley, Ethiopia (eds F. Wendorf and R. Schild): pp. 160–65. Warsaw: Ossolineum.Google Scholar
  43. Gifford, D. P. 1981. Taphonomy and paleoecology: a critical review of archaeology's sister discipline.Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 4:365–438.Google Scholar
  44. Gillespie, R. and Street-Perrott, F. A. 1983. Post-Glacial arid episodes in Ethiopia have implications for climatic prediction.Nature 306:680–83.Google Scholar
  45. Graziosi, P. 1940.L'Eta della Pietra in Somalia. Firenze: Centro di Studi Coloniali.Google Scholar
  46. Graziosi, P. 1954. Missione preistorica Italiana in Somalia (Estate 1953).Rivista di Science Preistoriche 9:121–23.Google Scholar
  47. Gresham, T. H. 1984.An Investigation of an Upper Pleistocene Archaeological Site in Northern Somalia. M.A. thesis, University of Georgia, Athens.Google Scholar
  48. Hamilton, A. C. 1982.Environmental History of East Africa. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  49. Harpending, H. and Davis, H. 1977. Some implications for hunter-gatherer ecology derived from the spatial structure of resources.World Archaeology 8:275–83.Google Scholar
  50. Hayden, B. 1981. Research and development in the Stone Age: technological transitions among hunter-gatherers.Current Anthropology 22:519–48.Google Scholar
  51. Hivernel-Guerre, F. 1976. Les industries du Late Stone Age de la région de Melka-Kontoure. InProceedings Seventh Panafrican Congress of Prehistory and Quaternary Studies (eds B. Abebe, J. Chavaillon and J. E. G. Sutton): pp. 93–98. Addis Ababa: Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs.Google Scholar
  52. Hours, F. 1976. Le Middle Stone Age de Melka-Kontoure. InProceedings Seventh Panafrican Congress of Prehistory and Quaternary Studies (eds B. Abebe, J. Chavaillon and J. E. G. Sutton): pp. 99–104. Addis Ababa: Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs.Google Scholar
  53. Howell, F. C. 1982. Origins and evolution of the African Hominidae. InThe Cambridge History of Africa. vol. 1 (ed. J. D. Clark): pp. 70–156. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Humphreys, G. K. 1978. A preliminary report of some Late Stone Age occurrences in the Lake Ziway area of the central Ethiopian Rift Valley.Annales d'Ethiopie 11:45–66.Google Scholar
  55. Jeschofnig, P. and Humphreys, G. K. 1976. Report on the 1973 archaeological survey of the central Ethiopia Rift Valley.Annales d'Ethiopie 10:19–23.Google Scholar
  56. Jönsson, S. 1983.Archaeological Research Cooperation between Somalia and Sweden. Stockholm: Civiltryck.Google Scholar
  57. Joussaume, R. 1981. L'art rupestre de l'Ethiopie. InPréhistoire Africaine: Mélanges Offerts au Doyen Lionel Balout (eds C. Roubet, H. J. Hugot and G. Souville): pp. 159–75. Paris: A.D.P.F.Google Scholar
  58. Joussaume, R., Anfray, F., Bouville, C., Cassen, S. and Baudouin, Y. 1982.Tiya: Site à Stèles Gravées du Soddo, Ethiopie. S.E.V.Google Scholar
  59. Keene, A. S. 1979. Economic optimization models and the study of hunter-gatherer subsistence settlement systems. InTransformation: Mathematical Approaches to Culture Change (eds C. Renfrew and K. Cooke): pp. 369–404. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  60. Kelly, R. L. 1983. Hunter-gatherer mobility strategies.Journal of Anthropological Research 39:277–306.Google Scholar
  61. Klein, R. G. (ed). 1984.Southern African Prehistory and Paleoenvironments. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.Google Scholar
  62. Kurashina, H. 1978.An Examination of Prehistoric Lithic Technology in East-Central Ethiopia. (Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley). Ann Arbor: University Microfilms.Google Scholar
  63. Laury, R. L. and Albritton, C. C. 1975. Geology of Middle Stone Age archaeological sites in the main Ethiopian Rift Valley.Geological Society of American Bulletin 86:999–1011.Google Scholar
  64. Leakey, L. S. B. 1931.The Stone Age Cultures of Kenya Colony. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Leakey, L. S. B. 1943. The industries of the Gorgora Rock Shelter, Lake Tana.Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 17:199–203.Google Scholar
  66. Lewis, I. M. 1955.The Peoples of the Horn of Africa (Ethnographic Survey of Africa: Northeastern Africa, Part I). London: International African Institute.Google Scholar
  67. Lezine, A. M. 1982. Etude palynologique des sédiments Quaternaires du Lac Abiyata (Ethiopie).Palaeoecology of Africa 14:93–98.Google Scholar
  68. Lezine, A. M. and Bonnefille, R. 1982. Diagramme pollinique Holocène d'un sondage du Lac Abiyata (Ethiopie, 7°42′ Nord).Pollen et Spores. 24:463–80.Google Scholar
  69. Lorius, C., Jouzel, J., Ritz, C., Merlivat, L., Barkov, N. I., Korotkevich, Y. S. and Kotlyakov, V. M. 1985. A 150,000-year climatic record from Antarctic ice.Nature 316:591–96.Google Scholar
  70. Marks, A. E. 1968. Mousterian industries of Nubia. InThe prehistory of Nubia, vol. 1, (ed. F. Wendorf): pp. 194–314. Dallas: Southern Methodist University.Google Scholar
  71. McCown, E.n.d. Human skeletal remains from Lake Besaka, Ethiopia.Ms. Google Scholar
  72. Michels, J. W. and Marean, C. A. 1984. A Middle Stone Age occupation site at Porc Epic cave, Dira Dawa (east-central Ethiopia): Part II.African Archaeological Review 2:64–71.Google Scholar
  73. Moysey, F. 1943. Excavation of a Rock Shelter at Gorgora, Lake Tana, Ethiopia.Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 17:196–98.Google Scholar
  74. Muir, I. D. and Hivernel, F. 1976. Obsidians from the Melka-Konture prehistoric site, Ethiopia.Journal of Archaeological Science 3:211–17.Google Scholar
  75. Mussi, M. 1974–75. Etats des connaissances sur le Quaternaire de la Somalie.Quaternaria 18:161–83.Google Scholar
  76. Mussi, M. 1982. Archaeological survey in Southern Somalia.Nyame Akuma 20:45.Google Scholar
  77. Mussi, M. 1984. Excavations in southern Somalia.Nyame Akuma 24/25:18.Google Scholar
  78. Phillipson, D. W. 1977a.The Later Prehistory of Eastern and Southern Africa. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  79. Phillipson, D. W. 1977b. The excavation of Gobedra rock-shelter, Axum: an early occurrence of cultivated finger millet in northern Ethiopia.Azania 12:53–82.Google Scholar
  80. Phillipson, D. W. 1982. The Later Stone Age in sub-Saharan Africa. InCambridge History of Africa. vol. 1, (ed. J. D. Clark): pp. 410–77. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  81. Phillipson, D. W. 1985.African Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Price, T. D. and Brown, J. A. (eds) 1985.Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers. Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  83. Revoil, G. 1882.La Vallée du Daroor. Paris: Challamel.Google Scholar
  84. Rick, J. W. 1978.Heat Altered Cherts of the Lower Illinois Valley vol. 2. Evanston: Northwestern Archaeological Program Prehistoric Records.Google Scholar
  85. Rightmire, G. P. 1984.Homo sapiens in sub-Saharan Africa. InThe Origins of Modern Humans: A World Survey of the Fossil Record (eds F. H. Smith and F. Spencer): pp. 295–325. New York: Alan R. Liss.Google Scholar
  86. Robertshaw, P. 1984. Archaeology in eastern Africa: recent developments and more dates.Journal of African History 25:369–93.Google Scholar
  87. Roubet, C. 1969. Essai de datation absolue d'un biface-hachereau paléolithique de l'Afar (Ethiopie).L'Anthropologie 73:503–23.Google Scholar
  88. Roubet, C. 1971. La préhistorie dans laIV mission internationale en Afar (Ethiopie).L'Anthropologie 75:324–27.Google Scholar
  89. Simoons, F. J. 1960.Northwest Ethiopia: peoples and economy. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  90. Smith, P. E. L. 1982. The Late Palaeolithic and Epi-Palaeolithic of northern Africa. InThe Cambridge History of Africa. vol. 1, (ed. J. D. Clark) pp. 342–409. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  91. Sutton, J. E. G. 1974. The aquatic civilization of middle Africa.Journal of African History 15:527–46.Google Scholar
  92. Testart, A. 1982. The significance of food storage among hunter-gatherers: residence patterns, population densities, and social inequalities.Current Anthropology 23:523–37.Google Scholar
  93. Tielhard de Chardin, P. 1930. La paléolithique en Somalie française et en Abyssinie.L'Anthropologie 49:331–34.Google Scholar
  94. Torrence, R. 1983. Time budgeting and hunter-gatherer technology. InHunter-Gatherer Economy in Prehistory (ed. G. Bailey), pp. 11–22. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  95. Trinkaus, E. (ed) 1983.The Mousterian Legacy: Human Biocultural Chang in the Upper Pleistocene. Oxford: BAR International Series, 164.Google Scholar
  96. Vallois, H. V. 1951. La mandibule humaine fossile de la Grotte du Porc-Epic près Diré-Daoua (Abyssinie).L'Anthropologie 55:231–38.Google Scholar
  97. Van Campo, E., Duplessy, J. C. and Rossignol-Strick, M. 1982. Climatic conditions deduced from a 150-kyr oxygen isotope-pollen record from the Arabian Sea.Nature 296:56–59.Google Scholar
  98. Volman, T. P. 1984. Early prehistory of southern Africa. InSouthern African Prehistory and Paleoenvironments (ed R. G. Klein): pp. 169–220. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.Google Scholar
  99. Wendorf, F., Laury, R. L., Albritton, C. C., Schild, R., Haynes, C. V., Damon, P. E., Shafiqullah, M. and Scarborough, R. 1974. Dates for the Middle Stone Age of East Africa.Science 187:740–42.Google Scholar
  100. Wendorf, F. and Schild, R. 1974.A Middle Stone Age Sequence from the Central Rift Valley, Ethiopia. Warsaw: Ossolineum.Google Scholar
  101. White, F. 1983.The Vegetation of Africa (Natural Resources Research, 20). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  102. Wiessner, P. 1983. Style and information in Kalahari San projectile points.American Antiquity 48:253–76.Google Scholar
  103. Willey, G. R. and Phillips, P. 1958.Method and Theory in American Archaeology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  104. Williams, M. A. J., Bishop, P. M., Dakin, F. M. and Gillespie, R. 1977. Late Quaternary lake levels in southern Afar and the adjacent Ethiopian Rift.Nature 267:690–93.Google Scholar
  105. Williams, M. A. J. and Faure, H. (eds) 1980.The Sahara and the Nile. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.Google Scholar
  106. Williams, M. A. J., Williams, F. M. and Bishop, P. M. 1981. Late Quaternary history of Lake Besaka, Ethiopia.Palaeoecology of Africa 13:93–104.Google Scholar
  107. Wobst, H. M. 1974. Boundary conditions for Paleolithic social systems: a simulation approach.American Antiquity 39:147–78.Google Scholar
  108. Wobst, H. M. 1977. Stylistic behavior and information exchange. InPapers for the Director: research essays in honor of James B. Griffin (ed. C. E. Cleland): pp. 317–42. University of Michigan: Museum of Anthropology, Anthropological Papers, 61.Google Scholar
  109. Yellen, J. E. and Harpending, H. 1972. Hunter-gatherer populations and archaeological inferences.World Archaeology 4:244–53.Google Scholar
  110. Zvelebil, M. 1984. Clues to recent human evolution from specialized technologies?Nature 307:314–15.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Cambridge University Press 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven A. Brandt

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations