The Transition to Cultural Adaptations in the Middle Stone Age in East Africa
Stanley H. Ambrose, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana
The Middle Stone Age began over 300 thousand years ago in East Africa. It marks the beginning of the Revolution that wasn’t in the evolution of modern behavior. Binford characterized the transition to cultural adaptations as the development of a “culturally-constructed” environment or “niche” that was strategically exploited with advanced planning. Gamble proposed that this transition involved the development of intergroup social interaction and information exchange networks to extend the social landscape beyond the boundaries of the local home range. Cultural niche construction using social information for planning is a key feature of the transition from primate troop to human tribal organization. I will present new archaeological evidence from Middle Stone Age sites in the Kenya Rift Valley for this troop-to-tribe transition.
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