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QRC 50th Anniversary Speaker Series | Khady Niang
WhenFriday, Oct 4, 2019, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationDenny Hall (DEN)
Campus roomRoom 313
Event typesLectures/Seminars

The Intra African Dispersel of Homo Sapiens: The Role of the West African Coast.

Abstract: Timing and routes of Homo sapiens spread across the globe remain critical issues in our attempt to understand human plasticity and resilience strategies in very diverse environments. Over the past decades, researchers mainly focused investigations on the eastern and southern parts of the African continent, due to their well preserved and dated archaeological sequences. However, the discovery of Homo sapiens remains dated to 300ka at Jebel Irhoud suggests a multiple geographic origins of our specie and implies “reorienting” the debate, but also rethinking the dispersal routes out and inside of Africa. Recently West Africa yielded very provocative insights (ie :proof of admixture between archaic and more recent H. sapiens), supporting the idea that the area may have played a refugia role for Mid-Late Pleistocene populations. Between the possible corridor, or routes the Atlantic coast of Senegal which also straddles in a transition zone between Sahara desert and tropical Africa. Petite Cote Prehistory project carried out field investigations on the southern coast of Senegal and revealed the oldest MSA occupation of coastal west Africa from Tiémassas, dating to 44ka and coinciding with a period of enhanced humidity across the region. Other coastal sites (Bargny, Déni Youssouf) preliminarily investigated display abundant lithic material predominantly knapped from high quality flint. The levallois method is used and mainly associated with the opportunistic and discoid one. Our findings helps to frame the west African MSA evidence in context of the high technological variability of this techno-cultural stage and suggest that coastal west Africa was an important pivot for population movements and interactions as demonstrated by the simultaneous presence featuring elements from both sub-saharan and north African MSA.

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