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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Middle Stone Age (MSA) covers the evolution, emergence, and dispersal of Homo sapiens. This article focuses on archaeological data and on published material from key stratified sites with some form of geochronological control from across eastern Africa. The MSA is often characterised by a shift from handaxe production towards discoidal and Levallois techniques. Although evidence for the controlled use of fire remains minimal, it seems likely that MSA hominins used it, as well as being highly skilled in working stone and probably bone and wood. MSA hominins appear to have exploited a range of different ecozones and many MSA sites are focused on ecotones, maximising access to resources. Over time, use of rockshelters and caves also seems to have increased. Although much work remains, the MSA is presently one of the most exciting and dynamic periods in the study of human evolution.

Keywords: human evolution, Homo sapiens, handaxes, MSA hominins, fire use

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