Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/30333
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Microliths in the South Asian rainforest ~45-4 ka: New insights from Fa-Hien Lena Cave, Sri Lanka
Author(s): Wedage, Oshan
Picin, Andrea
Blinkhorn, James
Douka, Katerina
Deraniyagala, Siran
Kourampas, Nikos
Perera, Nimal
Simpson, Ian
Boivin, Nicole
Petraglia, Michael
Roberts, Patrick
Issue Date: 2-Oct-2019
Citation: Wedage O, Picin A, Blinkhorn J, Douka K, Deraniyagala S, Kourampas N, Perera N, Simpson I, Boivin N, Petraglia M & Roberts P (2019) Microliths in the South Asian rainforest ~45-4 ka: New insights from Fa-Hien Lena Cave, Sri Lanka. PLoS ONE, 14 (10), Art. No.: e0222606. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222606
Abstract: Microliths–small, retouched, often-backed stone tools–are often interpreted to be the product of composite tools, including projectile weapons, and efficient hunting strategies by modern humans. In Europe and Africa these lithic toolkits are linked to hunting of medium- and large-sized game found in grassland or woodland settings, or as adaptations to risky environments during periods of climatic change. Here, we report on a recently excavated lithic assemblage from the Late Pleistocene cave site of Fa-Hien Lena in the tropical evergreen rainforest of Sri Lanka. Our analyses demonstrate that Fa-Hien Lena represents the earliest microlith assemblage in South Asia (c. 48,000–45,000 cal. years BP) in firm association with evidence for the procurement of small to medium size arboreal prey and rainforest plants. Moreover, our data highlight that the lithic technology of Fa-Hien Lena changed little over the long span of human occupation (c. 48,000–45,000 cal. years BP to c. 4,000 cal. years BP) indicating a successful, stable technological adaptation to the tropics. We argue that microlith assemblages were an important part of the environmental plasticity that enabled Homo sapiens to colonise and specialise in a diversity of ecological settings during its expansion within and beyond Africa. The proliferation of diverse microlithic technologies across Eurasia c. 48–45 ka was part of a flexible human ‘toolkit’ that assisted our species’ spread into all of the world’s environments, and the development of specialised technological and cultural approaches to novel ecological situations.
DOI Link: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222606
Rights: © 2019 Wedage et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Licence URL(s): http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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