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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Mapping the Stone Age of Mozambique

  • Célia Gonçalves
  • Mussa Raja
  • Omar Madime
  • João Cascalheira
  • Jonathan Haws
  • Daniela Matos
  • Nuno Bicho
Review Article

Abstract

Under the auspices of the Portuguese colonial government, Lereno Barradas and Santos Júnior (coordinator of the Anthropological Mission of Mozambique) carried out several archaeological field surveys from 1936 to 1956 that resulted in a data set that includes a total of close to 90 sites, mostly attributed to the Stone Age. This early research added to the previous work of Van Riet Lowe in the Limpopo Valley of southern Mozambique. With the new millennium, Mozambique has emerged as a crucial geographic area in which to understand the various hypotheses about recent human evolution. Specifically, its coastal location between southern and eastern Africa is ideal for testing ideas about the link between early coastal adaptations and the appearance of anatomically modern humans (AMH). Except for the recent work by Mercader’s team in northern Mozambique, the number of researchers and projects on this topic in Mozambique is still limited because of the general predominance of interest in later periods among archaeologists working in the country, mainly due to their focus on issues related to precolonial heritage and national identity. Based on the early maps from Santos Júnior and more recent data acquired through various projects, we present a series of maps for the Stone Age prehistory of Mozambique. The maps are also based on a critical evaluation of the sites and a review of some of the materials that are presently curated at the Instituto de Investigação Científica e Tropical (IICT) in Lisbon, Portugal, as well as the materials stored at the Department of Archaeology of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo. The sites are also presented in an online database with the information on all sites used in this study. This database is open to all and will be updated continuously. A preliminary interpretation of the regional distribution of the sites is also attempted, linking aspects that include region, topography and altitude, geomorphology, and cultural phase. These results will be the first step for research and knowledge in Mozambique on Stone Age prehistory and the emergence and settlement pattern of AMH.

Keywords

Stone Age Mozambique Southern Africa GIS 

Résumé

Sous les auspices du gouvernement colonial portugais, Lereno Barradas et Santos Júnior (le coordinateur de la Mission anthropologique du Mozambique) ont effectué plusieurs enquêtes de terrain archéologique 1936–1956 qui a abouti à un ensemble de données qui comprend un total de près de 90 sites, la plupart du temps attribué à l’âge de pierre. Ces travaux de recherche ajoutée à des travaux antérieurs de Van Riet Lowe dans la vallée du Limpopo sud du Mozambique. Avec le nouveau millénaire, le Mozambique a émergé comme une zone géographique crucial de comprendre les diverses hypothèses sur l’évolution humaine récente. Plus précisément, sa situation côtière entre Afrique australe et orientale est idéal pour tester des idées sur le lien entre les adaptations côtières début et l’apparition de l’homme anatomiquement moderne (AMH). Sauf pour les travaux récents de l’équipe de Mercader au nord du Mozambique, le nombre de chercheurs et de projets sur ce sujet au Mozambique est encore limité en raison de la prédominance d’intérêt général dans les périodes ultérieures parmi les archéologues travaillant dans le pays, principalement en raison de leur focalisation sur des questions connexes d’effectuer une pré-coloniale du patrimoine et de l’identité nationale. Basé sur les premières cartes de Santos Júnior et des données plus récentes acquises à travers divers projets, nous présentons une série de cartes pour la préhistoire Stone Age du Mozambique. Les cartes sont également basés sur une évaluation critique des sites et un examen de certaines des matières qui sont actuellement organisée au Instituto de Investigação Científica e Tropical (IICT) à Lisbonne, Portugal, et le matériaux dans le département d’archéologie de l’Université Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo. Il est également présenté une base de données en ligne des informations sur tous les sites utilisés dans cette étude. Cette base de données est ouverte à tous et sera mise à jour en continu. L’interprétation préliminaire de la répartition régionale des sites est également tenté, reliant aspects comprennent la région, de la topographie et de l’altitude, de la géomorphologie et la phase culturelle. Ces résultats seront une première étape pour la recherche et les connaissances sur la préhistoire au Mozambique Stone Age et le modèle d’émergence et le règlement des AMH.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (grant number PTDC/EPH-ARQ/4998/2012) and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research for funding the research in Mozambique. The archaeological permit was given by the Direcção Nacional do Património Cultural de Moçambique. Finally, we also would like to thank two anonymous reviewers whose comments helped to improve this paper.

Supplementary material

10437_2016_9212_MOESM1_ESM.docx (55 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 54 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICArEHB, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e SociaisUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Universidade Eduardo MondlaneMaputoMozambique
  3. 3.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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