Shum Laka - History

History

To quote the abstract of Cornelissen (2003):

The rock shelter of Shum Laka, situated in the Grassfields of northwestern Cameroon, was occupied during the later Pleistocene and Holocene. Plant remains reveal that there were no drastic changes in the immediate environment of the shelter between 30,000 and 10,000 bp. The industry is microlithic during this entire period. Quartz was deliberately chosen as the preferred raw material and there were no changes in technology or raw material usage over time. A comparison with similar sites in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo reveals that the microlithic quartz tradition was apparently appropriate for the exploitation of a wide variety of environmental settings. This flexibility may represent an adequate technological response to the environmental changes in Central Africa at the end of the Pleistocene.

Abstract of Lavachery (2001)

Until recently the Grassfields (western Cameroon), cradle of the Bantu languages, were an unknown zone from the archaeological point of view. The excavations of Shum Laka rock shelter by de Maret and his team brought the most complete sequence in West Africa, spanning the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene. After 20 millennia of microlithic tradition (Late Stone Age), a new culture, with macrolithic tools, polishing and pottery (Stone to Metal Age), slowly developed ca. 7000 B.P. onwards. From this early period on, forest hunting was associated with the exploitation of Canarium schweinfurthii. Around 4000 B.P., an industry with waisted axes, blades, and pottery had emerged. With a striking technological continuity, this culture survived throughout the Iron Age. Increasing importance and diversity of trees exploited through the Stone to Metal Age and the Iron Age suggests arboriculture. Regional comparisons show that, between 5000 and 2500 B.P., an original culture developed in the Grassfields and the Cross River basin.

Read more about this topic:  Shum Laka

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