Understanding the middle stone age adaptive strategies in East Africa: an experimental approach
In this study, I explore the Middle Stone Age (MSA) technological and subsistence adaptive strategies at two Sites in Kenya, Muguruk in Western Kenya, and Prospect Farm in Kenya's Central Rift Valley. This work is different from two previous studies at the two sites because of its approach, organization and treatment of data. Two major studies have been done at the two sites, yet both of them preoccupied themselves with trench studies, with strong emphasis on time and space. The reader is led from one time sequence to another, and from one quantitative result to another. Real activities that might have taken place at the two sites, is only cursorily probed. In this study I have explored the MSA adaptive strategies in the vein of the experimenter, adopting a general holistic approach. The research strategy allows for direct comparisons and contrasts to be made between the products of the experiments and the excavated materials. This enabled me to investigate the cognitive and socio - economic conditions of adaptation to lithic technology as it was done by the inhabitants of Muguruk and Prospect Farm. The replicated and used stone tools, are compared to those recovered from the two sites, in order to understand the complexity of the derived behaviour patterns in MSA stone tool makers. Based on the analysis of wear edges, and patterns on different tools from Muguruk and Prospect Farm, the Levalois technology appears quiet adequate to accommodate the notion of fairly skilled tool makers. Several characteristics of Levalois points, scrapers and knives including standardization of tool angles and evidence from experimentation with re-sharpening of blunted tool edges, suggest a portable serviceable tool system. The Levalois technology seem to have been maintainable and therefore indicative of a versatile approach to subsistence economy The results also suggest that: the makers of Muguruk and Prospect Farm artifacts, belonged to one general tradition and that as much as the people of MSA were mobile, they also stayed in certain places for longer periods of time or at least re-used the same places many times over.