The Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world and links Central and Eastern Africa with the Mediterranean coast and the Levante. The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through the Sudanese desert, and as such Sudan represents a potential corridor and key region for investigating the dispersal of anatomically modern humans out of Africa. Despite the archaeological and palaeoanthropological importance of this country, only few investigations have focused specifically on the Middle Stone Age (MSA) in Sudan, i.e. a time period during which anatomically modern humans migrated out of (Eastern) Africa. In central Sudan, the MSA record is restricted mainly to archaeological surface artefacts, but preliminary explorations at Al Jamrab (~35 km west of the Nile valley) revealed an in-situ stratified MSA site. The site has yielded hand axes associated with single or opposed platform core exploitation technology, as well as rare evidence of Levallois elements embedded in a fluvial-paleosol sequence (Zerboni et al., Antiquity 2016). In this collaboration we apply single-grain OSL dating techniques to constrain the age of this MSA stone tool assemblage as well as to date the wadi sediments that bracket the paleosol and thus improve the understating of landscape evolution since the time of human occupation.
Excavation director: Andrea Zerboni, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Luminescence dating: Michael Meyer