All posts tagged with MSA

Transport distance in MSA Botswana

2 minute read

Two years ago, I wrote about the archaeological assemblages and evidence of symbolic behavior at Rhino Cave, Botswana (“Views from Rhino Cave, Tsodilo Hills,...

Bead styles in MSA

1 minute read

Michael Balter covers a new paper on MSA shell beads by Marian Vanhaeren and colleagues: “Human ancestors were fashion-conscious”. The study involves beads f...

Chris Henshilwood profile

less than 1 minute read

Nature News has an article written by Jeff Tollefson, which profiles archaeologist Chris Henshilwood and his work at Blombos, South Africa: “Human evolution:...

Blombos pigment workshop

3 minute read

I know that some readers are starting to wonder if I’ve forgotten about paleoanthropology lately. Let’s just say that the Neandertal and Denisova genomes hav...

Neandertal stories on parade

4 minute read

Long-time science journalist Robin McKie has a long article in The Observer about the Neandertals this weekend: “Neanderthals: how needles and skins gave us ...

MSA ochre "factory"

less than 1 minute read

Jennifer Viegas covers the recent discoveries at Sibudu Cave, South Africa: “Stone Age color, glue ‘factory’ found”.

Misinformation about brain evolution

4 minute read

Due to Jerry Coyne, I encountered an interview in the Guardian with Colin Blakemore: “Colin Blakemore: How the human brain got bigger by accident and not thr...

Seeds of MSA diet breadth

2 minute read

Julio Mercader reports in a short Science paper that the MSA stone artifacts from Ngalue cave, Mozambique, preserve thousands of grains of sorghum starch, al...

Middle Stone Age bed and breakfast

5 minute read

On occasion, I point out interesting findings from archaeological chemistry and microscopic study of site formation processes. Last month, I pointed to the a...

Paleoclimate in southern Africa

4 minute read

The Tswaing Crater is around 40 km from Pretoria, South Africa. It was created by an asteroid impact some 200,000 years ago, which released roughly the energ...

Modern humans older than thought?

7 minute read

I can understand that National Geographic wants to promote news from researchers who take National Geographic money. It’s only natural, and as a publicity or...

The "amazing" Boskops

10 minute read

I've gotten a couple of e-mail questions from readers about this new book, Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence. The authors are Gary Lyn...

D'Errico on Neandertal language

2 minute read

Edmund Blair Bolles is reporting from the Evolang conference in Barcelona. Unfortunately I had to cancel my presentation there, but it has been great to rea...

Early ochre mining in Southern Africa

4 minute read

I was reading back through Bednarik's "Concept-mediated marking in the Lower Palaeolithic," for some background on the ochre-shellfish post, and I ran acros...

The amazing talking Neandertals

15 minute read

This week, Johannes Krause and colleagues from the Max Planck Evolutionary Anthropology institute announced that they had tickled FoxP2 out of two Neanderta...

Tools of the hobbits

2 minute read

Julien Riel-Salvatore figures the Liang Bua "hobbit" tools aren't so complicated after all:

At last, the death of the Toba bottleneck

3 minute read

It is no secret that I really don't like the hypothesis that the massive ancient eruption of Mt. Toba, Sumatra, wiped out much of the worldwide human popula...

Shell beads at three corners of Africa

6 minute read

Bouzouggar et al. (2007) report on a series of perforated Nassarius shell beads found in a layer dating to ca. 82,000 years ago in Grotte des Pigeons, Moroc...

Over coffee

less than 1 minute read

JOHN: Now, that's a frightening headline.

MSA projectile weapons

5 minute read

Brooks and colleagues (2005) describe evidence for distance weaponry from late MSA contexts in eastern and southern Africa. They discuss the size of points ...

Trade in MSA Africa

2 minute read

I was looking through some MSA literature, and ran across a paper earlier this year by Negash and Shackley (2006) concerning long-distance movement of obsid...

Shellfish use by Neandertals

5 minute read

I got the Neanderthals on the Edge volume by interlibrary loan to follow up the Barton shellfish consumption reference. Here is the relevant passage from th...

And then there was Levallois

7 minute read

Noble and Davidson (1996:200-201) have a great passage on the lack of relevance of the Levallois technique to interpreting ancient cognition. It has an atte...

Acheulean endings

7 minute read

There is no hard endpoint to the Acheulean; its tool types -- in particular the handaxe -- last well into the MSA/Middle Paleolithic. Here are some notes on...

How monolithic was the Acheulean?

9 minute read

I'm taking some notes on change and stasis during the Acheulean, and they're not entirely complete, but in the interest of clearing my desktop I'm going to ...


5 minute read

Yesterday I ran across this paper by Thomas Flatt in Quarterly Review of Biology, which is a really thorough review of the concept of canalization from its ...

More assimilation, genetic-style

5 minute read

Daniel Garrigan and colleagues (2005) have an article in press in Genetics, titled "Deep haplotype divergence and long-range linkage disequilibrium at Xp21....