Microliths in the South Asian rainforest ~45-4 ka: New insights from Fa-Hien Lena Cave, Sri Lanka

Autoři: Oshan Wedage aff001;  Andrea Picin aff001;  James Blinkhorn aff001;  Katerina Douka aff001;  Siran Deraniyagala aff005;  Nikos Kourampas aff006;  Nimal Perera aff005;  Ian Simpson aff006;  Nicole Boivin aff001;  Michael Petraglia aff001;  Patrick Roberts aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany aff001;  Department of History and Archaeology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka aff002;  Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, England, United Kingdom aff003;  Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, United Kingdom aff004;  Department of Archaeology, Government of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka aff005;  Biological and Environmental Science, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom aff006;  Centre for Open Learning, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom aff007;  School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia aff008;  Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada aff009;  Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., United States of America aff010
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222606


Microliths–small, retouched, often-backed stone tools–are often interpreted to be the product of composite tools, including projectile weapons, and efficient hunting strategies by modern humans. In Europe and Africa these lithic toolkits are linked to hunting of medium- and large-sized game found in grassland or woodland settings, or as adaptations to risky environments during periods of climatic change. Here, we report on a recently excavated lithic assemblage from the Late Pleistocene cave site of Fa-Hien Lena in the tropical evergreen rainforest of Sri Lanka. Our analyses demonstrate that Fa-Hien Lena represents the earliest microlith assemblage in South Asia (c. 48,000–45,000 cal. years BP) in firm association with evidence for the procurement of small to medium size arboreal prey and rainforest plants. Moreover, our data highlight that the lithic technology of Fa-Hien Lena changed little over the long span of human occupation (c. 48,000–45,000 cal. years BP to c. 4,000 cal. years BP) indicating a successful, stable technological adaptation to the tropics. We argue that microlith assemblages were an important part of the environmental plasticity that enabled Homo sapiens to colonise and specialise in a diversity of ecological settings during its expansion within and beyond Africa. The proliferation of diverse microlithic technologies across Eurasia c. 48–45 ka was part of a flexible human ‘toolkit’ that assisted our species’ spread into all of the world’s environments, and the development of specialised technological and cultural approaches to novel ecological situations.

Klíčová slova:

Archaeology – Crystals – Paleoanthropology – Pleistocene epoch – Raw materials – Quartz – Lithic technology – Rainforests


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