Journal of Human Evolution
Spring-deposited carbonate rocks, or tufas, exposed along the flanks of the Libyan Plateau near Kharga Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt, can provide a directly datable stratigraphic context for Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic (MSA/MP) archaeological material, if such material can be found in situ within tufa strata. Two such localities (Mata'na Site G and Bulaq Wadi 3 Locus 1) described by Caton-Thompson were revisited and sampled for uranium-series analysis. At Mata'na Site G (KH/MT-02), Middle Stone Age ("Upper Levalloisian") material is underlain b C y tufa with a uranium-series age of 127.9 +/- 1.3 ka, and overlain by tufa with an a, ge of 103 +/- 14 ka. At Bulaq Wadi 3 Locus 1, a uranium-series age of 114.4 +/- 4.2 ka on tufa capping a small collection of Middle Stone Age artifacts also provides a minimum age constraint on that material. Tufa underlying an MSA workshop (KH/MD-10) indicates that this assemblage, characterized by use of several Levallois reduction methods, was deposited after similar to 124 ka. Furthermore, uranium-series ages averaging similar to 133 ka on a Wadi Midauwara tufa (WME- 10) without associated archaeological material suggest that one period of spring flow in the region began during the Marine Isotope Stage 6/5e transition, prior to the warmest portion of the last interglacial period. The dated archaeological material suggests that the distinction that has been identified between Nubian and non-Nubian complexes in the Nile Valley may hold for the Western Desert, although local complexity has yet to be fully described. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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