Afro-Asiatic Connections in the mid Holocene

Start: Dec 14, 2017 06:00 PM

Location: Room 612, UCL Institute of Archaeology

Afro-Asiatic Connections in the mid Holocene

Ceri Shipton (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge) will give the next seminar in the African Peoples and Pasts series at the Institute on 14 December.

Ceri's presentation is entitled 'Afro-Asiatic Connections in the mid Holocene' and all are welcome to attend.


Afro-Asiatic is one of the world’s largest language families with over 350 million native speakers in Africa and the Middle East. However the origins and dispersal of this language family are not well understood with two diametrically opposed hypotheses. One is that the language family originates in the Horn of Africa and spread slowly, initially with intensive hunting and gathering beginning in the Terminal Pleistocene and only crossing into Asia in the later Holocene. The other principal hypothesis is that Afro-Asiatic came from the Levant and spread rapidly into Africa with agro-pastoralism in the earlier Holocene. Here the Holocene record of rock art and stone tools from the Jubbah oasis in northern Arabia and its possible African connections will be presented. Evidence will then be reviewed from North Africa for connections with Eurasia before moving down to the East African Rift Valley. In the last part of the talk data will be presented on excavations from Holocene sites on the coast of East Africa, including archaeobotany and ancient DNA, and their implications for the dispersal of the Afro-Asiatic language family will be discussed.

Any enquiries about the event may be directed to Hannah Page.