Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationU. Bordeaux Montaigne
Grant numberGr. 10478
Approve DateApril 6, 2023
Project TitleRichard, Maïlys (U Bordeaux Montaigne) "Framing the Middle Stone Age of the Lake Eyasi basin, Tanzania, from the Kohl-Larsen Collection"
In Africa, the birthplace of our species, the occurrence of Homo sapiens remains overlaps with the onset of the Middle Stone Age (MSA, ca. 350-30 ka), characterised, for instance, by new technological skills, population expansion into a wider range of environments and increased evidence of symbolism. Eastern Africa is fundamental in the investigations on the origin and expansion of our species and the emergence of MSA technology, due to its strategic location, on the route connecting southern and northern Africa. In particular, MSA sites and hominin fossils were discovered around Lake Eyasi, northern Tanzania. However, a precise chronological framework remains to be defined to discuss the position of the human remains in the evolutionary timeline and the cultural diversity observed in relation to the palaeoclimatic context. This research focuses on Mumba rockshelter and Njarasa cave, excavated in the 1930s by Margit and Ludwig Kohl-Larsen. By dating teeth from the Kohl-Larsen collections, using electron spin resonance and uranium-series, and sediment from the new excavations by luminescence, this work aims at framing human occupations in a high resolution chronological and paleoclimatic framework to investigate how modern humans responded to climate change, in terms of adaptation to their environment, regional expansion, and migrations.