Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Joanna Casey


The Middle Stone Age (MSA) began around 300,000 years ago and continued to around 20,000 years ago in Africa. During this time anatomically modern Homo sapiens emerged in Africa. Also during this period modern human behavioral traits appear gradually both temporally and geographically in Africa. This is in direct contrast to “human revolution” theories of modern human origins, which state that behavioral modernity emerged rapidly and quite late in the record around 40,000 years ago. Siliceous mudstone artifacts from the MSA component of the Birimi site in northern Ghana were analyzed using Individual Flake Analysis, helping to highlight this period of evolution. These lithics from Birimi demonstrate the presence of technological complexity and style, an extension of symbolism, both of which are argued to be indicators of modern human behavior. Birimi is presented in relation to other African MSA sites highlighting technological innovation and variability in the archaeological record.


© 2017, Agatha Kenda Baluh

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