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Post-Capsian Occupation in the Eastern Maghreb: Implications of a Revised Chronological Assessment for the Adult Burial at Aïn Misteheyia

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image of Journal of African Archaeology

The 1973–1976 excavations at Aïn Misteheyia, a Capsian site in eastern Algeria, revealed an archaeological sequence dated between 9500 and 6000 cal BP with evidence for technological and subsistence change coeval with what we now know to be the 8200 event. A human burial from the lowest levels at the site which are dated on land snail shell to at least 9000 cal BP, is dated twice on collagen, run 30 years apart by different laboratories using different methods, to 5000 cal BP. New TL/OSL dates on fired clay and quartz grains from land snail shell fillings from the upper 50 cm of the deposits, show that this burial is contemporaneous with those upper levels and is therefore intrusive, despite any stratigraphic proof. The burial provides clear evidence for post-Capsian use of the site and for previously undocumented mid-Holocene (Neolithic?) groups in the region, suggesting a need to reassess the cultural sequence for the history of human occupation in the eastern Maghreb.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of Waterloo ; 2: University of Washington Luminescence Dating Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington ; 3: Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford


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