DMP XI: Preliminary results from 2010 fieldwork on the human prehistory in the Libyan Sahara

M. Mirazón Lahr, Robert Foley, Federica Crivellaro, José Maillo Fernandez, Alex Wilshaw, Adam Purdon, Cornelius Halladay-Garrett, Djuke Veldhuis, David Mattingly

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This paper reports on the results of the work of the Palaeo team of the DMP in January 2010. The fieldwork was focused on two different areas – the Wadi ash-Shati and the southwestern margin of the Ubari Sand Sea. Work in the Wadi ash-Shati confirmed the existence of Oldowan sites in Fazzan (locality SHT11 and environs), which although undated, represent a major addition to the extent of prehistoric occupation of the area. Further work near the site originally studied by Petit-Maire in the 1980s confirmed the association of a shell layer dated to the last interglacial with archaeological artefacts in situ. These artefacts are of MSA affinity, thus placing Fazzan in the context of other northern African sites of that time. The work in the southwestern margin of the basin represented the first formal archaeological survey of that area. This revealed extensive Holocene and MSA occupations, and in a group of sites at the southern edge of the Hamada Zaqher, also Oldowan lithics. Little if any Acheulean remains were observed, while the latter predominate in the interdunes just north of the Wadi al-Ajal. Overall, the spatial and technological analyses of the sites and remains suggest that there were different resource constraints on hominins in the Middle and later Quaternary, shaping the distribution of industries and raw materials. Furthermore, the relative widespread distribution of Oldowan sites – Wadi ash-Shati, southern Messak, and Hamada Zaqher, shows that the Central Sahara played an important role in the evolutionary geography of Lower Pleistocene hominins in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-154
JournalLibyan Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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