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Modern Origins pp 157-175 | Cite as

The Aterian of the Oases of the Western Desert of Egypt: Adaptation to Changing Climatic Conditions?

  • A. L. Hawkins
Chapter
Part of the Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology book series (VERT)

Abstract

The Aterian is well-represented in arid eastern North Africa, particularly in the Egyptian oases and other formerly watered areas. In this region, study of the Middle Stone Age (MSA), including the Aterian, has been hindered by the rarity of buried sites. However, work by a number of teams suggests that the Levallois-based industries associated with significantly higher moisture during Marine Isotope Stage 5 are not Aterian. The artifact inventory of Aterian differs from that of the earlier MSA industries, as does the distribution of sites on the landscape. Taking a technological viewpoint, I suggest that the Aterian represents an elaboration of earlier industries arising in response to changing climatic regimes.

Keywords

Adaptation Aterian  Climatic change Dakhleh oasis Kharga oasis Lithic technology Middle Stone Age 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This chapter is based on several seasons of research in the Dakhleh and Kharga Oases, many of which were made possible through National Geographic Foundation Grants. Additional funding came from University of Toronto travel grants and a Halbert Foundation post-doctoral fellowship to Alicia Hawkins, and a Leakey Foundation grant to Jennifer R. Smith. I thank Dakhleh Oasis Project director A.J. Mills and Kharga Oasis Prehistory Project directors M.R. Kleindienst and M.M.A. McDonald. I thank the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt for granting concessions to allow work in Kharga and Dakhleh. Jonathan O’Carroll illustrated the artifacts pictured in Figs. 11.4, 11.5, 11.6. Numerous individuals collaborated and assisted in different ways. I particularly wish to thank J. R. Smith, M.R. Kleindienst, M.F. Wiseman, and T. Ormerod. I thank Jean-Jacques Hublin and Shannon McPherron for organizing the “Modern Origins: A North African Perspective,” and for inviting me to participate. The comments of three anonymous reviewers on an earlier version of this manuscript were very helpful.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laurentian UniversitySudburyCanada

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