REFERENCEMSAMOROCCO – Early Homo sapiens behavior in Morocco: Perspectives from artifact use wear and raw material sourcing
DURATION2 years – 01OCT22 – 31OCT24
Northern africa

Project Description.

This project investigates the mobility of Stone Age populations in Morocco using a combination of lithic raw material characterization and use-wear analysis of the lithic tools. It includes research in petrography and geochemistry to determine the varieties of raw materials utilized by Paleolithic peoples and their sources within the territory. This work will be combined with an experimental program and microscopic analysis aimed to identify and interpret different types of use-wear traces on the Aterian-MSA stone tools.

Morocco provides varied and exceptionally well-preserved evidence on the archaeology of early modern Humans (300 ka-10 ka). Material from four recently-excavated sites will form the basis for this study. Two, Bizmoune and Jorf el Hamam caves, are located in South-Western Morocco, near Essaouira. The other two, Rhafas and Taforalt caves, are located in the North-East part of the country.

The fourth sites have deep MSA sequences (Rhafas: 3 meters, Taforalt: at least 6 meters, Bizmoune: 3 meters, Jorf Al Hamam: at least 1 meter) covering a chronology from at >150 ka to 24 ka.

The objectives of this project can be summarized as follow:

1) To check whether both the palaeoenvironment and paleoclimate have played a role in the behavior of the Aterian groups in the Mediterranean and Atlantic areas.

2) To investigate the nature of the Aterian lithic raw material use in different areas.

3) To identify individual criteria to better understand the function of the stone tools made of diverse raw materials, using a targeted experimental program that includes the use of the local raw materials.

4) To compare functional results with data from other MSA sequences in North Africa, especially in Morocco.