Morocco early Aterian

Julien Riel-Salvatore writes about new findings from Morocco relevant to the timing of the Aterian industry, a Middle Stone Age variant from North Africa.

The Moroccan Ministry of Culture has a press release (in French) about the cave site of Ifri nAmmar, about 50km south (i.e., away from the coast) of Nador, indicating that the Moroccan-German team that has been working there for the past seven years has identified Aterian levels dating to about 175,000 BP. If these dates are correct, they push back the age for the earliest Aterian assemblages by some 65,000 year, since to date, the oldest Aterian levels had been identified at the Moroccan site of Dar es-Soltan, where they date to as old as 110,000 BP (Barton et al. 2009) . This is significant in and of itself by showing that the Aterian industry may be much longer than had previously been believed.

It’s a press release and there are no details as to the method of dating, but Julien’s post has some interesting thoughts.