The archaeological record of North Africa is becoming increasingly important for several reasons, including the human fossil record and the early evidence of behavioral modernity. The purpose of this proposal is to examine the Aterian lithic industry in the context of modern human origins. In particular, this proposal seeks to point out the assessment and definition of Aterian technocomplex, the role of tanged pieces in this system and the appraisal of paleoenvironmental context. Those data will make possible a technological and cultural comparison with adjacent areas, including Egypt and Levant. So, this proposal aims to re-define Aterian trough a deep and modern oriented lithic analysis and through the application of a technological analytic approach. This kind of analysis proposes to integrate traditional typological definitions with technological, morphometrical, statistical one, related to use wear approaches. The typological characteristics of Aterian lithic assemblages have been better explored than their technological aspects until now. In fact, the analysis of Aterian has tended to focus almost exclusively on the presence or absence of tanged pieces, the only tools being recognized as uniquely Aterian. This project seeks to put this lithic industry in the larger context of the technological system devoted to blank production. The analysis of the Aterian lithic industries from Jebel Gharbi, issued from the Italian-Libyan Archaeological Project, will be the starting point to reach objectives. Lithic collections are partially conserved in Italy (in the Museo delle Origini of La Sapienza University) and partially in Libya (Department of Antiquities, Tripoli). Moreover, new Aterian evidence will be collected during planned field season 2009 and 2010 in Jebel Gharbi.
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