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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The term ‘Stone to Metal Age’ (SMA) was coined by Pierre de Maret to describe a stage without metals but with advanced technical traits such as ceramics and polished stone, and sometimes possible indications of food production intermediate between the Later Stone Age (LSA) and the Iron Age. A new term was necessary because the frequent use of the term ‘Neolithic’ with reference to ground stone tools and pottery assemblages from this period, had proven particularly problematic in Africa. Climate change is thought to have been a significant factor in the SMA with the appearance of human settlement in the southern parts of West Africa. Recent research also suggests that in the mid-Holocene, the peoples of the southern Sahara and the Sahel had generalised economies that utilised resources across the wild-domestic spectrum. Trade and communication among far-flung populations were likely a feature of SMA societies.

Keywords: West Africa, SMA, Neolithic, human settlement, Pierre de Maret, trade, stone tools, mid-Holocene

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