New key data for defining the cultural and chronological framework of the Middle Stone Age occupations at El Mnasra cave, Morocco - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2022

New key data for defining the cultural and chronological framework of the Middle Stone Age occupations at El Mnasra cave, Morocco

Nouvelles données clés pour définir le cadre culturel et chronologique des occupations Middle Stone Age de la grotte d'El Mnasra, Maroc

Abstract

Over the last 20 years, there has been a growing interest in studying coastal North African Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites for their implication in understanding the development/expansion of Homo sapiens. One of them is El Mnasra cave (Rabat-Temara region), a rare example in North Africa of coastal caves with well-preserved MSA occupations presenting a great interest in studying livelihood strategies adopted by North African Middle Stone Age humans in coastal areas with the production of symbolic and cognitive hallmarks. Here, we present a series of new data published in the last two years,and their clear implications for the human occupations of the site. First, we updated the chronostratigraphic model for the MSA archaeo-sequence of El Mnasra cave and confirmed a human presence between 124–104 ka, earlier than showed by the previous OSL and US-ESR data. We considerably extended the age of the MSA occupations to the MIS 4/3 (~62–30 ka). El Mnasra cave yielded the largest record of Nassariidae perforated shells, and we evidenced that their use by the Aterian groups at El Mnasra dates from the MIS 5d-5b (~115–94 ka) to the MIS 4/3 (~62–30 ka). Second, this new chronological framework allows recontextualizing an important discovery about plant management: we reported the presence in El Mnasra cave of the earliest use of fruits and wood from olive trees in Africa, dated around 100 ka. These findings suggest the presence of olive trees on the Atlantic coast of Morocco during most of the last glacial period and the use of olives by the early Homo sapiens for fuel management and, most probably, for consumption.
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Dates and versions

hal-03854925 , version 1 (16-11-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03854925 , version 1

Cite

Eslem Ben Arous, Laurent Marquer, Thierry Otto, Emmanuelle Stoetzel, Christophe Falguères, et al.. New key data for defining the cultural and chronological framework of the Middle Stone Age occupations at El Mnasra cave, Morocco. 11ème Rencontre des Quaternaristes Marocains (RQM11), Nov 2022, Rabat, Morocco. ⟨hal-03854925⟩
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