The Middle Stone Age of Eastern Africa

Laura Basell

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    94 Citations (Scopus)


    The Middle Stone Age (MSA) covers the evolution, emergence, and dispersal of Homo sapiens. This article focuses on archaeological data and on published material from key stratified sites with some form of geochronological control from across eastern Africa. The MSA is often characterised by a shift from handaxe production towards discoidal and Levallois techniques. Although evidence for the controlled use of fire remains minimal, it seems likely that MSA hominins used it, as well as being highly skilled in working stone and probably bone and wood. MSA hominins appear to have exploited a range of different ecozones and many MSA sites are focused on ecotones, maximising access to resources. Over time, use of rockshelters and caves also seems to have increased. Although much work remains, the MSA is presently one of the most exciting and dynamic periods in the study of human evolution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology
    EditorsPeter Mitchell, Paul J. Lane
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780199569885
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Homo sapiens
    • human evolution
    • handaxes
    • MSA
    • hominins
    • fire use


    Dive into the research topics of 'The Middle Stone Age of Eastern Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this