The CENIEH obtains financial support from the Leakey Foundation for research in MSA lithic technology

Irene Solano-Megías has received one of the 32 grants awarded by this foundation, in order to investigate the lithic technology that may possible assisted the expansion of modern humans out of Africa, during the next two years

Today Leakey Foundation has announced the winners of its Research Grant call for 2023, whose aim is to support and increase the knowledge and understanding of human evolution and behaviour. Irene Solano-Megías, from Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has received one of the 32 grants awarded, in order to develop her project about the lithic remains of the Gona site (Ethiopia) in the next two years.

The origin and expansion of Homo sapiens is one of the most debated topics in the archaeological landscape, and thanks to this grant, Irene Solano-Megías  will study and investigate the lithic technology that may possible assisted the expansion of modern humans.

The emergence of Homo sapiens overlaps with the Middle Stone Age (MSA), and the first goal of this project is to study at least three MSA localities. The second goal is to date and confirm the age estimated for the sites that will be of critical importance for better understanding the MIS 5 MSA technology in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa more generally and how it relates to earlier and later MSA technology. The third goal, the analysis of other selected MSA sites that are penecontemporaneous will provide important clues to the technological development that took place during the MSA in East Africa.

Results of this research also have the potential to highlight evolution of the cultural materials, and the changes leading to the evolution and emergence of modern humans and its expansion Out of Africa. Thus, the Gona study area is key for the technological characterization of the MSA in the region and for investigating the skills for the success of the emergence and expansion of Homo sapiens.