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

  • Author / Creator
    Biittner, Katie
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Lowrey, Kathleen (Anthropology)
    • Chazan, Michael (Anthropology)
    • Le Blanc, Raymond (Anthropology)
    • Chacko, Thomas (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Ives, John (Anthropology)