MedAfrica explores the shift from hunting-gathering to food producing economies in Northwestern Africa

In the second half of November, Giulio had the great opportunity to spend two weeks at the INSAP (Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine), in Rabat, in order to study the ground tool and pebble assemblages from the archaeological sites of Ifri Oudadane and Ifri n’Etsedda.
These are two very important Moroccan rock shelters which are among the few sites to have yielded evidence of the transition from hunting-gathering to the early food-producing economies in Northwestern Africa. The two sites were excavated by a team of Moroccan and German archaeologists directed by Jörg Linstädter (DAI), between 2007 and 2014.
Ifri Oudadane is located along the Mediterranean coast in the northeast Rif region. The site shows a sequence spanning from c. 11.000 to 5700 cal. BP and it is particularly important since it yielded evidence of animal husbandry and plant domestication, the latter among the oldest in the whole of North Africa. 
Ifri n’Etsedda (the Lions Cave) is also located in Northern Morocco, more specifically on the southern flank of the Kebdana Mountains, only 10 m from the coast. The site was occupied during the Epipalaeolithic and the Neolithic, from c. 10.000 and 6000 cal. BP.
Both the sites yielded very rich ground tool and pebble assemblages that have been morpho-technologically analysed. These tools were used in a series of different activities, ranging from plant exploitation, pigment processing and flint knapping. In order to better understand the function of these artefacts, a sample of items from the two sites was temporarily exported to the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, where it will be microscopically analysed during the next months… so stay tuned if you want to know more about the results!

A very special thank for all the support given to Giulio during all the phases of his work must go to Dr. Abdessalaam Mikdad (INSAP Deputy Director).

During his time in Rabat, Giulio also had the chance to work together with Sonja Tomasso, a PhD candidate at the TraceoLab (University of Liège). Sonja is carrying out an amazing programme of use-wear analysis of the Middle Stone Age lithic artefacts from Ifri n’Ammar. This is a very important rock shelter located in the Eastern Moroccan Rif, that yielded evidence of human occupation during the MSA and Iberomaurusian. Good luck to Sonja for a very positive completion of her PhD from all the MedAfrica folk!

 

 The entrance of the INSAP (photo: Giulio Lucarini)

The entrance of the INSAP (photo: Giulio Lucarini)

 Giulio analysing a grinding stone from Ifri Oudadane (photo: Sonja Tomasso)

Giulio analysing a grinding stone from Ifri Oudadane (photo: Sonja Tomasso)

 Ifri Oudadane rock shelter (photo: Jörg Linstädter)

Ifri Oudadane rock shelter (photo: Jörg Linstädter)

 Ifri n'Etsedda rock shelter (photo: Jörg Linstädter)

Ifri n'Etsedda rock shelter (photo: Jörg Linstädter)

 Sonja and Giulio working at the INSAP

Sonja and Giulio working at the INSAP

 Sonja working on the lithic tools from Ifri n'Ammar (photo: Giulio Lucarini)

Sonja working on the lithic tools from Ifri n'Ammar (photo: Giulio Lucarini)