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Characterization of Middle and Later Stone Age lithic artifacts from two rockshelter sites in Iringa Region, southern Tanzania Open Access


Other title
Middle Stone Age
Later Stone Age
lithic characterization
petrographic analysis
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Biittner, Katie
Supervisor and department
Willoughby, Pamela (Anthropology)
Examining committee member and department
Ives, John (Anthropology)
Lowrey, Kathleen (Anthropology)
Le Blanc, Raymond (Anthropology)
Chazan, Michael (Anthropology)
Chacko, Thomas (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department of Anthropology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Stone tools have a critical role to play in our understanding of the behavior of early humans. In particular, the types of raw materials that are present in stone tool assemblages, and the sources from which they are acquired, provide information relating to decision making processes, planning, organization of technology, and group mobility. The characterization of Stone Age lithic artifact assemblages from two rockshelter sites in southern Tanzania, Magubike and Mlambalasi, allowed for the evaluation of inter- and intra-assemblage variability. Raw material characterization was conducted using macroscopic and microscopic analyses. Numerous raw material sourcing studies have been undertaken on Stone Age lithic assemblages recovered from sites in Tanzania and the rest of East Africa. Generally these studies have concentrated on identifying the sources of a particular type of stone raw material such as chert, obsidian, and basalt; however, rarely are the attributes of the whole assemblage examined. Furthermore, few archaeologists describe stone materials in terms of their basic petrographic characteristics. Both of these weaknesses are the direct result of the lack of a standardized methodology for describing lithic raw materials, thus this dissertation outlines a strategy for raw material sourcing, with a focus on description and grounded in geoarchaeological theory. When combined with typological and technological analyses, the results of the raw material analyses suggests the exclusive use of locally acquired lithics.
License granted by Katie Biittner ( on 2011-06-02T20:10:00Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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