78,000-year-old record of Middle and Later Stone Age innovation in an East African tropical forest

Ceri Shipton, Patrick Roberts, Will Archer, Simon Armitage, Caesar Bita, James Blinkhorn, Colin Courtney-Mustaphi, Alison Crowther, Richard Curtis, Francesco D'Errico, Katerina Douka, Patrick Faulkner, Huw Groucutt, Richard Helm, Andy Herries, Severinus Jembe, Nikos Kourampas, Julia Lee-Thorp, Rob Marchant, Julio MercaderAfrica Pitarch Marti, Mary Prendergast, Ben Rowson, Amini Tengeza, Ruth Tibesasa, Tom White, Michael Petraglia, Nicole Boivin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Middle to Later Stone Age transition in Africa has been debated as a significant shift in human technological, cultural, and cognitive evolution. However, the majority of research on this transition is currently focused on southern Africa due to a lack of long-term, stratified sites across much of the African continent. Here, we report a 78,000-year-long archaeological record from Panga ya Saidi, a cave in the humid coastal forest of Kenya. Following a shift in toolkits ~67,000 years ago, novel symbolic and technological behaviors assemble in a non-unilinear manner. Against a backdrop of a persistent tropical forest-grassland ecotone, localized innovations better characterise the Late Pleistocene of this part of East Africa than alternative emphases on dramatic revolutions or migrations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1832 (2018)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2018

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