Where’s the Point? Re-considering the Sangoan-Lupemban

Laura Basell (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The “Sangoan-Lupemban” was initially conceptualised as a “transitional” industry bridging the gap between the Early and Middle Stone Age (MSA). The term has been variously defined, re-defined, split, deemed irrelevant and resurrected but nonetheless persists, with the Lupemban appearing on McBrearty and Brook’s (2000) reinterpretation of Clark’s (1988) classic map of points. Despite a chronic lack of well stratified and dated sites, for most, “Sangoan-Lupemban” lithics continue to represent the earlier part of the MSA. Several authors correctly criticised early studies for focussing only on the large bifacial elements of assemblages, but one of the reasons for this was the fact that some of the bifaces in these assemblages were so distinctive compared to Early Stone Age bifacial lithics. Drawing on recent fieldwork and new lithic analyses, this paper evaluates the present state of knowledge regarding the Sangoan-Lupemban including:
1)      whether the term/s have any integrity2)      the age and techno-typological variability of assemblages with such an attribution 3)      the function and authorship of these assemblages (with particular attention being paid to some of the bifacial elements)4)      and the relationship between such assemblages and others of comparable age in east Africa.   
Period30 Jun 2016
Event titleSociety of Africanist Archaeologists : 23rd biennial meeting
Event typeConference
LocationToulouse, France
Degree of RecognitionInternational