In 2011 the CRC 806 – Our Way to Europe (A3 and A1) started to investigate Mount Dendi (3270 m a.s.l.) in Ethiopia. The 2012 excavations were directed by Ralf Vogelsang. They started in the Dendi Lake Rock Shelter and exposed a rich lithic assemblage, dated to the Holocene Later Stone Age (LSA).
Since dated sites from the LSA are scarce at the Horn of Africa, the AMS radiocarbon dates on single charcoal pieces from Dendi provide a better understanding of the chronology in the region. The stone artefact assemblages of the hunter-gatherers are characterised by microliths, which are very small inserts for tools or weapons, most in geometrical forms like segments, trapezoids or triangles. The overall data suggest that hunter-gatherers roamed this Afromontane forest on the caldera and stayed several short times at the shelter from the Early to Late Holocene. They used it as a camp for hunting trips combined with other activities e.g. sourcing of obsidian or maybe collecting plants and honey.
Furthermore, the archaeological record could be linked to local climate data that were obtained by colleagues from lake sediment cores within the caldera (Wagner et al. 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.02.003). It shows that climatic conditions stayed more stable in the course of the Holocene aridification, indicating a potential refugia for humans.
The site adds one more part to the puzzle of the East African LSA.
Text: Christian Schepers
Christian Schepers is PhD candidate in the A1-project.
He regularly participates in the field trips to Ethiopia and is currently working on lithic technology in the context of human dispersal.
|The rockshelter (orange circle) and sourrounding landscape
Photos: Christian Schepers