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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 25, Issue 1–2, pp 87–97 | Cite as

Ecological Patterns in the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene in the Jebel Gharbi, Northern Libya: Chronology, Climate and Human Occupation

Original Article

Abstract

Surveys and test excavations in the Jebel Gharbi have brought to light a large quantity of prehistoric sites indicating intensive human occupation from the Upper Pleistocene to the Holocene. Several radiometric dates (standard 14C, AMS and U/Th) provide a detailed framework of the absolute chronology of the local peopling of the area. Generalised Middle Stone Age archaeological materials represent the earliest term of reference in the geological series. Aterian complexes are well-represented, being widely spread throughout the mountain range and in the lowlands. Lower Later Stone Age, or “Dabban”, artefacts are also attested to both geological and archaeological sequences. Human occupation continued with the Upper and Final Epipalaeolithic (or “Iberomaurusian”) and later, with Capsian and Neolithic groups. Permanent and seasonal water springs and raw material sources influenced settlement strategy and selected areas offered particularly favourable conditions and became intensively occupied.

Keywords

Jebel Gharbi Libya Palaeolithic Aterian Epipalaeolithic Capsian 

Résumé

Reconnaissances et sondages dans le Jebel Gharbi ont mis au jour une grande quantité de sites préhistoriques qui suggèrent une occupation intensive du Pléistocène supérieur à l’Holocène. Nombreux dates radiométriques (14C, AMS et U/Th) fournissent un cadre détaillé de la chronologie absolue de l’occupation locale de la zone. Matériels archéologiques du Paléolithique moyen représentent le terme de référence le plus ancien dans les stratigraphies géologiques. Les assemblages atériens sont bien représentés, en étant présent soit dans le massif soit dans la pleine. Des sites du Paléolithique moyen ou “Dabbéen” sont aussi connus dans les séquences géologiques et archéologiques. L’occupation humaine continue avec les Upper et Final Epipaléolithique (ou “Ibéromaurusien”) et, après, avec des groupes capsiens et néolithiques. Sources d’eau permanentes et saisonnières ont influencé la stratégie des gisements et des zones sélectionnées ont offert des conditions particulièrement favorables et sont devenu intensivement occupées.

Notes

Aknowledgements

The Italian–Libyan Archaeological Mission in the Jebel Gharbi was founded and is presently co-directed by Barbara E. Barich, of the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. It is supported by grants from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and the Italian Ministries of University and Scientific Research and of Foreign Affairs. Elena A. A. Garcea, University of Cassino, has recently been appointed as co-director of the mission. We would like to thank the President of the Libyan Antiquities, Dr. Giuma Anag, the Superintendent of the Sabratha Department, Mabrouk Zinati, and the governmental authorities of the Jebel Gharbi for their kind hospitality and support.

Barich wrote the following paragraphs: ‘The Study Area’ and ‘Water Springs’; Garcea wrote: ‘Introduction’ and ‘Chronology and Climate’. Both authors wrote the ‘Final Remarks’.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche, Archeologiche e Antropologiche dell’AntichitàUniversity of Rome “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Filologia e StoriaUniversity of CassinoCassinoItaly

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