The paper reports on the sixth season of fieldwork of the Cyrenaican Prehistory Project (CPP) undertaken in September 2012. As in the spring 2012 season, work focussed on the Haua Fteah cave and on studies of materials excavated in previous seasons, with no fieldwork undertaken elsewhere in the Gebel Akhdar. An important discovery, in a sounding excavated below the base of McBurney's 1955 Deep Sounding (Trench S), is of a rockfall or roof collapse conceivably dating to the cold climatic regime of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 (globally dated to c. 190-130 ka) but more likely the result of a seismic event within MIS 5 (globally dated to c. 130-80 ka). The sediments and associated molluscan fauna in Trench S and in Trench D, a trench being cut down the side of the Deep Sounding, indicate that this part of the cave was at least seasonally waterlogged during the accumulation, probably during MIS 5, of the -6.5 rn of sediment cut through by the Deep Sounding. Evidence for human fréquentation of the cave in this period is more or less visible depending on how close the trench area was to standing water as it fluctuated through time. Trench M, the trench being cut down the side of McBurney's Middle Trench, has now reached the depth of the latest Middle Stone Age or Middle Palaeolithic (Levalloiso-Mousterian) industries. The preliminary indications from its excavation are that the transition from the Levalloiso-Mousterian to the blade-based Upper Palaeolithic or Late Stone Age Dabban industry was complex and perhaps protracted, at a time when the climate was oscillating between warmstage stable environmental conditions and colder and more arid environments. The estimated age of the sediments, c. 50-40 ka, places these oscillations within the earlier part of MIS 3 (globally dated to 60-24 ka), when global climates experienced rapid fluctuations as part of an overall trend to increasing aridity and cold.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies