Laboratoire méditerranéen de préhistoire Europe Afrique Lampea

Laboratoire méditerranéen de préhistoire Europe Afrique
Lampea, UMR 7269


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CNRS


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Directeur de l'unité
Jean-Pierre Bracco

Directeurs adjoints
Estelle Herrscher
Xavier Margarit


LAMPEA (UMR 7269) MMSH
BP 647
5 rue du Château de l'Horloge
13094 Aix-en-Provence
Cedex 2
33 (0) 442 52 42 94
barnier@mmsh.univ-aix.fr

Maion méditerranéenne des sciences de l'homme

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PREPARATORY WORKSHOP Chronology and Dynamics of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Prehistoric Peopling in Morocco (ChroMed) October 19th-20th 2017 (IMéRA, 2 place Leverrier, 13004)

October 19th-20th 2017 (IMéRA, 2 place Leverrier, 13004)

Programm

One of the key questions in human evolution concerns the African origins and the dispersal of the genus Homo during the early stages of the Pleistocene, but the identity and the timing of the early Homo sapiens in the North of Africa still remain problematic. This is why North-West Africa, and in particular the mediterranean seaboard and the atlantic coastline of Morocco, are key regions with the associated cultures : Middle Stone Age (MSA) mainly represented by the Aterian with tangs and the Iberomurusian for the Upper Paleolithic (s.l.). Caves in North Africa provide rare sources of information on the lives of early modern humans. Amongst the best evidence from anywhere in this region is in Morocco where Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age sites cover the period from about 300,000-10,000 years ago. Unlike the Mediterranean northern side, these cultural phases occurred exclusively within Homo sapiens populations. Another distinctive characteristic is the precocious appearance of symbolic artefacts and other behavioural indicators of cultural modernity that appear within MSA/Middle Palaeolithic contexts perhaps 50,000 years before they did in Europe.
Unfortunately the archaeological deposits covering the whole Upper Pleistocene are scarce and very few have been dated. Axe 1 of ChroMed proposes to compensate for this deficiency by combining different radiometric methods (14C, OSL, U/Th). It will be necessary to establish a robust chronological framework expected by the Africanist community, based on approximately 95 layers/horizons submitted to datations in 3 archaeological sequences exceptionally well preserved in different biogeographical contexts : Bizmoune in low mountain jebel (15 km Northeast of Essaouira), El Khenzira (between Cap Blanc and El Jadida) in the atlantic coastal context, Taforalt in medium mountain near the mediterranean facade (40 km north of Oujda). During the Pleistocene, those Moroccan terrestrial biomes probably have profoundly modified, thus constituting different paleo-ecoregions largely subjected to the rythmicity of the more or less cold phases of the last glaciation as evidenced by the arrival in the North of Africa of large mammal species of strictly Eurasiatic origin such as the wild boar (Sus scrofa), one particular species of rhinoceros (Stephanorhinus hemitoechus) and an uncommon cervid (Megaceroides algericus) (all present at Bizmoune). Small mammals such as rodents, gerbillidae and shrews are dominant whereas Paraethomys (here since 6 Ma) or Ellobius are not present anymore during upper Pleistocene. It will be necessary to identify in Axe 2 of ChroMed the climatic cold phases of the isotopic stages 2 (see Heinrich Events) 4 and 6, or the more humid and temperate stages 3 and 5 and see to what extent they may have affected mammal species on their paleogeographic distribution. The taxonomic associations will be analyzed with current paleoecological tools (diet, locomotor adaptations, turnover, diversity, etc.) for each stratigraphic horizon. The combined analysis of the dental material of the large mammals in meso/micro dental wear will make it possible to compare theirown ecological niches and to infer plant cover. In this regard, the identification of remains of burnt plants and phytoliths will contribute for the first time to the systematic search for Argan tree remains (Argania spinosa) of which the fruit is particularly nutritious and the wood an excellent fuel but never reported in the Pleistocene archaeological deposits although it is still present in Bizmoune and Taforalt. We also propose to evaluate the availability of mammalian biomass (<10kg) based on recent high resolution method by modelling the relationship between primary and secondary consumers of different stratigraphic horizons. Human impact on marine or terrestrial invertebrate resources will also be discussed. These human groups will be at the heart of Axe 3 and the dates for the beginning of the aterian culture in Morocco at about 145 000 years BP and around 29 000 years BP for the most recent phase will be tested in the old levels of the different sites. In Bizmoune and El Khenzira the iberomaurusian levels will be precisely dated to see if this culture appeared to the south in a faster way than imagined. For the oldest stratigraphic levels, indices of "modern" behaviors (e.g. dyes, lamellae production, explotation of marine and terrestrial molluscs ...) well known in the MSA sequences in sub-Saharan Africa will be systematic. The opportunity provided by DaMEDamof a global chronological and paleoenvironmental approach with Axes 4 and 5 is essential since all recently excavated sites are exclusively concentrated along the narrow coast of land between the Atlas mountains, the Rif and the coast, near Casablanca, Rabat and the Oriental. These two axes, of which a large part of the data will be common, will focus on the paleogeographic dynamic of the mediterranean and atlantic coastal corridor by targeting the major Upper Pleistocene records thanks to the combined geomorphological and geomatics analysis (e.g. paleo-shorelines). The landscape dynamics of the archaeological contexts will then make it possible to see whether human and animal occupations have been influenced by climate changes. Particular attention will be paid to the identification of paleo-river networks to show possible sub-Saharan contacts of which Bizmoune could be one of the first geographical stake.

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
LabexMed-LAMPEA, France : Philippe Fernandez, Jean-Pierre Bracco
INSAP, Morocco : Abdeljalil Bouzouggar (former fellow, IMéRA) & Mohamed Abdeljalil El Hajraoui (INSAP)
University of Oxford, United Kingdom : Nick Barton

Programm

Thursday October 19th
9:00-9:15 : Welcome
9:15-10:00 : Opening talk
Jean-Pierre Bracco (Dir. LAMPEA)
[IMéRA, scientific board…]

10:00-10:30 : Coffee break

10:30-12:15 - Session 1 : ChroMed Project : General Introduction (plenary session)

Chair : Jean-Pierre Bracco

10:30-11:15 : Philippe Fernandez
ChroMed : Presentation & objectives

11:15-11:35 : Nick Barton
Consolidating the chronological framework of the Upper Pleistocene sites in Morocco based on dating techniques (AMS, U-series and OSL)

11:35-11:55 : Philippe Fernandez
Mammalian faunal associations and their paleoenvironmental implications during the last 130 ka and human subsistence

11:55-12:20 : Abdeljalil Bouzouggar
Cultural Changes and Peopling of the Mediterranean and Atlantic areas in Morocco

12:20-12:30 : Philippe Fernandez
Guidelines for the participants in the parallel workshops

Lunch : 12 :30-14:00

Meetings of the parallel workshops : 14:00-18:00

Axis 1&3
Chronology & Cultural Changes
Salle de conferences dans la Nouvelle Maison

Axis 2
Caractériser les associations fauniques, leurs implications paléoenvironnementales (e.g. biochronologie, turnover, évolution, diversité) et leurs potentiels en terme de subsistence sur les derniers 130 000 ans
Salle des Conférences “Maison des Astronomes”

Axis 4&5
Geology, Geomorphology and landscapes moddeling
Salle des conferences next to the main Conference room “Maison des Astronomes”

Friday 20th October 2017

9:00-11:30 Meetings of the parallel workshops (Continuation)
Meetings of the parallel workshops : 13:00-16:30 (Plenary session)

Axis 1&3
Chair : Nick Barton and Abdeljalil Bouzouggar
Chronology & Cultural Changes
Salle de conférences dans la Nouvelle Maison

Axis 2
Chair : Philippe Fernandez
Caractériser les associations fauniques, leurs implications paléoenvironnementales (e.g. biochronologie, turnover, évolution, diversité) et leurs potentiels en terme de subsistence sur les derniers 130 000 ans
Salle des Conférences “Maison des Astronomes”

Axis 4&5
Chair : Simon Collcutt
Geology, Geomorphology and landscapes moddeling
Salle des conferences next to the main Conference room “Maison des Astronomes”

Lunch : 11:30-13:00

13:00-15:00 - Session 2 : reports of the parallel workshops
Chair : Vincent Ollivier

13:00-13:20
Simon Collcutt
Geology, Geomorphology and landscapes modeling

13:20-13:40
Nick Barton and Abdeljalil Bouzouggar
Chronology & Cultural Changes

13:40-14:00
Philippe Fernandez
Caractériser les associations fauniques, leurs implications paléoenvironnementales (e.g. biochronologie, turnover, évolution, diversité) et leurs potentiels en terme de subsistence sur les derniers 130 000 ans
Salle des Conférences “Maison des Astronomes”

14:00-15:00
Discussion

15:00-15:30
Coffee break

15:30-16:30
Philippe Fernandez
Closing discussion