July 12, 2013
A Middle Paleolithic link between North Africa and the Thar desert
And, one more piece of evidence against the idea that early modern humans in Eurasia died out and were replaced wholesale circa 50-60 thousand years ago from a fresh OoA impulse. It would have been possible to suppose such a thing if the evidence for MP African influence was minor or geographically localized, but much more difficult when it extends over a wide region.
Of course, the attribution of the Katoati assemblages to modern humans is done indirectly by linking them to MSA sites of the Sahara, but the proliferation of real archaeological sites (see map) that can be linked to OoA makes it difficult to adopt the idea of an archaeologically invisible late OoA that (somehow) replaced all previous inhabitants.
Quaternary Science Reviews Available online 5 July 2013
Middle Palaeolithic occupation in the Thar Desert during the Upper Pleistocene: the signature of a modern human exit out of Africa?
James Blinkhorn et al.
The Thar Desert marks the transition from the Saharo-Arabian deserts to the Oriental biogeographical zone and is therefore an important location in understanding hominin occupation and dispersal during the Upper Pleistocene. Here, we report the discovery of stratified Middle Palaeolithic assemblages at Katoati in the north-eastern Thar Desert, dating to Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 5 and the MIS 4–3 boundary, during periods of enhanced humidity. Hominins procured cobbles from gravels at the site as evidenced by early stages of stone tool reduction, with a component of more formalised point production. The MIS 5c assemblages at Katoati represent the earliest securely dated Middle Palaeolithic occupation of South Asia. Distinctive artefacts identified in both MIS 5 and MIS 4–3 boundary horizons match technological entities observed in Middle Palaeolithic assemblages in South Asia, Arabia and Middle Stone Age sites in the Sahara. The evidence from Katoati is consistent with arguments for the dispersal of Homo sapiens populations from Africa across southern Asia using Middle Palaeolithic technologies.