This paper discusses land use patterns of hunter–gatherers inhabiting arid grasslands of later Pleistocene East Africa, inferred from an analysis of raw material economy in five Later Stone Age (LSA) lithic assemblages from Lukenya Hill, southern Kenya. Later Stone Age lithic assemblages at Lukenya fall into two groups, one based predominantly on the use of quartz to manufacture scrapers and other flake tools, and the second using greater amounts of rarer chert and obsidian lithic materials to manufacture microliths. Aspects of raw material use, coupled with ethnographic data on how food and water abundance affects Kalahari forager land use, indicate that the first group of sites had longer occupations by groups with smaller home ranges. The second group of sites had shorter occupations by more mobile groups with larger home ranges. The paper compares the land use patterns of arid grassland LSA foragers, like those at Lukenya Hill, with those in woodland and forest areas of Central and Southeastern Africa. Improvements in the ability to procure food, such as the development of fishing and fowling technologies or better hunting projectiles, allowed grassland groups to become more mobile in the later LSA, while foragers in wetter parts of Africa, including woodlands, riverine areas, and lakeshores, seem to have intensified the procurement of fish and plant foods. The processes of economic specialization taking place in both grassland and woodland areas of Later Stone Age Africa may have parallels in other parts of the Old World.
Something I’ll read tomorrow, I have housework to do.