Dottoressa di ricerca

ciclo: XXXVI

supervisore: Prof. Enza Elena Spinapolice
relatore: Prof. Cristina Lemorini

Titolo della tesi: Decoding changes: technological and statistical investigation of the Middle Stone Age-Later Stone Age transition in the Horn of Africa

The transition from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) to the Later Stone Age (LSA) in East Africa is a highly complex topic that generates significant interest. Indeed, the archaeological record shows a technological shift characterised by the progressive decline of features typical of the MSA (such as the use of the Levallois method and the production of points) in favour of an increase in traits typical of the LSA (backed tools, increased production of blades and bladelets, frequent use of bipolar technique on anvil, and a rise in the presence of ornamental objects). However, while these changes are evident in archaeological contexts of the MIS 4-3, the modes and tempos of these changes are not yet clear. In fact, while these aspects appear in some contexts at the beginning of the MIS 4, in others such as in Ethiopia, the appearance of the LSA is much more recent (late MIS 3). It is clear, therefore, that the dynamics related to this transition phenomenon vary at a regional level. Hence, this thesis focuses on the MSA-LSA transition in the Horn of Africa through a comparative analysis on two levels: a local examination consisting of the technological and statistical analysis of the lithic assemblages found in the Gotera area, dated to the MIS3 and located in southern Ethiopia; and a regional analysis, with the investigation of multiple contexts located in the Horn of Africa and parts of Kenya, aimed at evaluating this phenomenon at both small and large scales. The results of the archaeological analysis were then integrated with paleoclimatic and environmental data to assess the role of the environment in the MSA-LSA transition. From this study, the nuanced nature of the boundaries between the two techno-complexes MSA and LSA is confirmed, as well as the difficulty of developing a large-scale model with the available data. However, the correlation between lithic industries and paleoclimatic aspects has allowed for the formulation of new research hypotheses on adaptability to the environment and seasonal variations, as well as the behavioural response of our species at the end of the Pleistocene in East Africa. Although explanations for the MSA-LSA transition are still challenging to unravel, especially due to several weaknesses in available data, it is likely that environmental factors were critically influential and acted as drivers for the observed changes. It is essential to remain persistent in testing these hypotheses through quantitative analysis and data integration.

Produzione scientifica

11573/1696923 - 2023 - δ13C and δ18O enamel isotope insights into the paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic context of MSA humans from Gotera, southern Ethiopia
Asrat, Seminew; Aureli, Caterina; Fusco, Marianna; Anne Tafuri, Marry; Gallinaro, Marina; Spinapolice, Enza Elena - 04d Abstract in atti di convegno
congresso: XXI INQUA (International Union for Quaternary Research) Congress- time for change (Sapienza University of Rome)
libro: International Union for Quaternary Research - INQUA - ()

11573/1615541 - 2022 - New evidence of bipolar technique use in the eastern Africa Middle Stone Age (MSA)
Fusco, Marianna; Spinapolice, Enza Elena - 04d Abstract in atti di convegno
congresso: La tecnica bipolare. Produzione, prodotti e funzione dei manufatti litici (Genova)
libro: Abstract book Incontri annuali di preistoria e protostoria - (9788860450890)

11573/1565618 - 2022 - Back to Uluzzo. Archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and chronological context of the Mid–Upper Palaeolithic sequence at Uluzzo C Rock Shelter (Apulia, southern Italy)
Spinapolice, E. E.; Zerboni, A.; Meyer, M. C.; Talamo, S.; Mariani, G. S.; Gliganic, L. A.; Buti, L.; Fusco, M.; Maiorano, M. P.; Silvestrini, S.; Sorrentino, R.; Vazzana, A.; Romandini, M.; Fiorini, A.; Curci, A.; Benazzi, S. - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE (John Wiley & Sons Limited:1 Oldlands Way, Bognor Regis, P022 9SA United Kingdom:011 44 1243 779777, EMAIL:, INTERNET:, Fax: 011 44 1243 843232) pp. 217-234 - issn: 0267-8179 - wos: WOS:000683070400001 (8) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85112001278 (10)

11573/1594375 - 2021 - Lithic variability and raw material exploitation at the Middle Stone Age (MSA) site of Gotera, southern Ethiopia: A combined technological and quantitative approach
Fusco, Marianna; Carletti, Elena; Zerboni, Andrea; Gallinaro, Marina; Spinapolice, Enza Elena - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: JOURNAL OF LITHIC STUDIES (Edinburgh : School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh) pp. 1-29 - issn: 2055-0472 - wos: WOS:000754732900001 (3) - scopus: (0)

11573/1468487 - 2018 - Raw material exploitation and lithic variability at the MSA site of Gotera, southern Ethiopia: technological and quantitative approaches combined
Carletti, Elena; Fusco, Marianna; Zerboni, Andrea; Gallinaro, Marina; Spinapolice, Enza Elena - 04b Atto di convegno in volume
congresso: IEEE International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (Cassino, University Campus)
libro: Proceedings of 2018 IEEE International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage - ()

11573/1467801 - 2018 - Tecniche integrate per la documentazione tridimensionale del sito di Valle Giumentina (Abruzzo, Italia) = Integrated 3D survey methods to document the Middle Pleistocene Site of Valle Giumentina (Abruzzo, Italy)
Fusco, Marianna; Valentini, Rosario; Andrea, D'andrea - 04d Abstract in atti di convegno
rivista: ANNALI DELL'UNIVERSITÀ DI FERRARA. SEZIONE: MUSEOLOGIA SCIENTIFICA E NATURALISTICA (Bologna : Editografica) pp. 74-77 - issn: 1824-2707 - wos: (0) - scopus: (0)
congresso: IV Incontro annuale di preistoria e protostoria (Ferrara; Italy)
libro: Quarto incontro annuale di preistoria e protostoria. Applicazioni tecnologiche allo studio di contesti paleolitici e mesolitici italiani - ()

11573/1481040 - 2018 - Italian Archaeological Mission in Southern Ethiopia
Spinapolice, Enza Elena; Gallinaro, Marina; Zerboni, Andrea; Solomon, Tadele; Berhane, Haftom; Fusco, Marianna; Carletti, Elena; Guidi, Lorenzo - 04f Poster
congresso: IAM Conference (Il Cairo)
libro: Atti dell'IAM - ()

11573/1481022 - 2017 - Vesuviana, Dher. Domus Herculanensis Rationes. Ercolano, Insula Iii: Rete Topografica 3D per lo Studio e la Tutela, in Ricerca e valorizzazione.
Bosco, Angela; Andrea, D'andrea; Forte, Francesca; Fusco, Marianna; Valentini, Rosario - 04f Poster
congresso: Questioni di archeologia, arte e museologia, Convegno di studi internazionale e interdisciplinare (Bologna)
libro: Questioni di archeologia, arte e museologia - ()

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