The Late Pleistocene in the Northeastern Central African Rainforest
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The reconstruction of Late Pleistocene population dynamics in the northeastern Central African rainforest is hampered by the scanty though intriguing environmental, archaeological, and human fossil records. The few well documented and dated sites combined with undated surface finds in museum collections are examined for patterning in their spatial, temporal, and technological distribution. The results are ambiguous and point to both continuity and discontinuity in occupation of forested environments prior to, during, and after MIS 2. Particularly striking is the absence of quartz microlithic industries or any Later Stone Age (LSA) assemblages in the western part of the region. This may be due to lack of suitable raw materials or low visibility of quartz scatters encountered during informal surveys. At the same time the analysis suggests potentially interesting avenues for future research. These include, for example, the role that riverine systems might have played in the patterning of both prehistoric and extant genetic relationships. Utilization of archaeologically perishable bone in lithic poor regions may also account for apparently disjunctive archaeological distributions.