The Archaeological Investigation on Human Cultural Evolution at Magubike, Iringa, Tanzania


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


History and Archaeology


The material culture of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) people is believed to represent a significant step towards the development of modern behavior. One of the most important sites which contain archaeological records of the MSA and later cultures is Magubike rock-shelter. The upper levels of the cultural deposits at Magubike were radiocarbon dated around 42,000 ya, representing a period in which the extremely dry and arid environment restricted human settlements to a few areas. The unfriendly environment led to the first dispersal of Homo sapiens from Africa to Eurasia. This dispersal has long been thought to mark a significant shift to more complex technology and cognitive behavior, including the production of labor-intensive implements, utilization of diversified food resources, and manufacturing of symbolic objects. The mode of these technological and behavioral shifts is a hotly debated topic in archaeology. This project contributes to the ongoing discussion by providing new data from recent technological and use-wear studies on the MSA artifacts from Magubike.