The study of the human societies of the Final Pleistocene of North Africa requires an in-depth analysis of the techno-typological characteristics of the microlithic industries that were widespread in the whole Mediterranean area during the period between 24000 and 10000 years ago.
Most of the research projects in Maghreb and Libya were carried out decades ago. At the time sediments were rarely sieved and the small lithic tools, so characteristic of this period, were often lost. Also, little attention was paid to the raw material sourcing, which is an exceptional tool for understanding technology, human behavior and land management. It is thus of great importance to focus on new research, that has the potential to delineate a more detailed picture of the North-African Later Stone Age.
Based on more recent research in the Jebel Gharbi (Libya), this book offers a high-resolution description and documentation of the LSA lithic complexes of North-Western Libya, applying an approach that integrates up-to-date techno-typological studies with geochemistry and functional analysis. This research aims to define the characteristics of the human occupation of the Jebel Gharbi during the Late Pleistocene, with specific reference to the period from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene transition, delineating a picture of the human occupation of the area through about ten millennia. This volume represents an exhaustive overview on the Prehistory of Northern Libya in areas that aren’t, nowadays, accessible to researchers.
Chapter 1: Hunter-Gatherer societies in the north african context: History of studies, definitions, chronology. 1.1 research objectives 1.2 microlithism and backed industries in the late North African Pleistocene. Chronology, characteristics and diffusion. 1.3 Pleistocene microlithic industries: human group circulation, methods, stratigraphical issues and hypothesis about an origin. 1.4 Pleistocene microlithic industries and palaeoclimatic aspects (Last Glacial Maximum) 1.5 State of the art of the research on Later Stone Age North-African contexts
Chapter 2 : Jebel Gharbi, environment and cultures 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Research in Jebel Gharbi 2.3 Geomorphological aspects and chrono-stratigraphical sequences 2.4 Palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment during the Late Pleistocene 2.5 LSA sites in Jebel Gharbi. A description of the analysed sample.
Chapter 3: From the artifact to society: lithic industries, study methods used. Archaeometry, techno-typological analysis, functional analysis and experimentation 3.1 Methodological aspects 3.2 Raw material analysis: knappable stone characteristics. Raw material procurement, technological aspects of lithic complexes and human group mobility. Raw material determination techniques. Petrographic analysis. SEM observation. Geochemical analysis. 3.3 Study of lithic complexes. Technological analysis. Typological analysis. Techno-functional analysis.
Chapter 4: Raw material: distribution, analysis and characteristics of flint outcrops in Jebel Gharbi. 4.1 Flint outcrops and formations in Jebel Gharbi 4.2 Sampling and definition of a descriptive record as an instrument of data systemization 4.3 Analysis of the characterization of flints from flint outcrops and of the techno-complexes that are the object of study 4.4 Sites SJ-06-85, SJ-06-84 e SG-07-94: three flint first-extraction workshops. Technological observations and experimental comparisons. 4.5 Quartzite and the origin of other raw materials in LSA lithic complexes in Jebel Gharbi
Chapter 5: The study sample in the Shakshuk and Wadi Ghan areas. 5.1 Site SJ-00-55 East. Raw material analysis, typological analysis, technological analysis. 5.2 Site SJ-00-56. Raw material analysis, typological analysis, technological analysis 5.3 Site SJ-02-63. Raw material analysis, typological analysis, technological analysis 5.4 Site SJ-00-41. Raw material analysis, typological analysis, technological analysis
Chapter 6. From the industry to the site. Techno-functional experimental study of lithic artefacts. 6.1 Methodological motivations of a light-power approach in the functional study of lithic techno-complexes and in the analysis of the site function 6.2 Functional analysis of macro-traces and impact fractures of some of the complexes studied 6.3 Experimental assessment of some techno-functional aspects of the lithic complexes studied. Realisation of the Ouchtata retouch. Productive potential of cores, projectile hypothesis 6.4 Functional interpreting of the sites studied in the light of the technological, typological and functional data.
Conclusion: The Jebel Gharbi sequence in the framework of hunter-gatherer societies in North Western Africa. 7.1 Settlement choices and raw materials. Hypotheses on the behavioural aspects of LSA groups in Jebel Gharbi
Final Remarks Bibliography Tables
Giuseppina Mutri is currently Post Doc Fellow at the Cyprus Institute, where she is in charge of the study of dental calculus from different periods. Her previous research background focused on lithic technology and use-wear. Her experience on North African Prehistory began with her graduate dissertation on the lithic technology of the Upper Later Stone Age of Jebel Gharbi (Libya), where she also conducted extensive surveys for her PhD, working on the sourcing and characterization of lithic raw material for the same period.
At the same time, she had the opportunity to broaden her knowledge of the North African Stone Age by working in the Western Desert of Egypt. After her PhD she completed a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (University of Cambridge), working on the project HUMANARIDADAPT, focused on human adaptation strategies across the Last Glacial Maximum in Cyrenaica, Libya. This experience was followed by a Research Associate position in the same Institute within the ERC funded project TRANSNAP, where her duty was the study of use-wear and residues on lithic artefacts from Middle Stone Age to Neolithic.
From 2017 to 2020 she was Research Associate within the ERC project “Hidden Foods” at the University La Sapienza of Rome and the same University. She was awarded a grant under the program Grandi Scavi Sapienza to conduct research at the stone age site of Melka Kunture, in Ethiopia as responsible for the Later Stone Age Archaeology.
She applied a multidisciplinary-based approach, by integrating my deep knowledge of lithic technology with use-wear and residues analysis, experimental archaeology and archaeobotany. The potential of this contribution to the understanding human behavior and subsistence strategies has significantly increased and the outcomes fully fits in the current debate about the role of plant-based foods in hunter-gatherers societies.
“…Mutri’s book is an essential reference for understanding the LSA in North Africa, especially because the central northern part of the continent is a key area for comprehending the cultural relations (sensu lato) between the west and the east of the continent and, by extension, with the Near East during the Late Pleistocene.”
~JOSÉ-MANUEL MAÍLLO-FERNÁNDEZ, Journal of Anthropological Research, Winter 2023
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