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Technological Variability during the Late Pleistocene in Eastern Africa: lithic assemblages as indirect witnesses of past human population dynamics (PleisTechnoVar)
Start date: 01 Oct 2015, End date: 30 Sep 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

PleisTechnoVar aims to better understand the increase in technological variability observed in Africa during the Late Pleistocene, between 70000 and 15000 years ago. While many research projects have focused on the origins of Homo sapiens and its spread Out of Africa into Eurasia, fewer research has concerned the material cultures of the populations who « stayed » in Africa and how they interacted with eachother. The first objective is to study this variability on the regional scale of Eastern Africa, between Kenya and Ethiopia. The second objective is to develop a methodological approach to understand the factors driving this variability. A larger scale of analysis will be used and Eastern Africa as well as the Nile Valley and the Levant will be considered in order to propose hypotheses concerning links between technological variability, environments and population dynamics. This project is an in-depth study of the candidate's previous research axes in these regions. In order to meet these objectives, lithic assemblages will be studied using the concept of chaîne opératoire and attribute analyses. Data collection will take place during short mobilities in museums in Eastern Africa, Israel and Europe. Spatial analyses will complete the study. These data will then be discussed in view of the known palaeoenvironmental data, as well as the results from the study of other types of material (zooarchaeology, geomorphology, etc.).The research will be conducted at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in the University of Cambridge where the candidate will receive high level training to improve her skills in the study of material culture (quantitative and qualitative data, theoretical background), as well as to develop new competences in spatial analysis (through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)). The candidate will greatly benefit from the host organisation's experience in interdisciplinary research on the diversity of material cultures.
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