A new stone tool assemblage revisited: reconsidering the 'Aterian' in Arabia
The Aterian is perhaps the major manifestation of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) in North Africa and is frequently framed in terms of the first human dispersals into the north of Africa. The possibility of an Aterian presence in the Arabian Peninsula is widely cited and is of particular interest, given the significant ongoing debate on the character of the dispersal(s) of Homo sapiens out of Africa. This paper presents a reanalysis of this data. Strong covariance was found between the tanged tools of the Banī Khaṭmah assemblage of south-western Saudi Arabia and the Aterian of north-east Africa. Comparison with other technologically similar assemblages from the Saudi Arabian south-west, however, shows that this apparent similarity results from technological convergence rather than demographic connections with Aterian populations. This convergence is likely to date to the Holocene.
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Archaeopress Publishing, Oxford, UK