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date: 26 September 2023

West African Acheuleanlocked

West African Acheuleanlocked

  • Djibril ThiamDjibril ThiamUniversité Assane Seck de Ziguinchor
  •  and Isis MesfinIsis MesfinMuséum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Although the data are incomplete, the Acheulean seems to occupy the longest share of the prehistoric period of West Africa. Whereas some sites suggest the arrival of the first hominids beginning in the Early Pleistocene, the majority of the Acheulean sites show evidence of activity throughout almost the entirety of the Mid-Pleistocene. From the Sahel to tropical forests, numerous valleys in nearly every West African country have offered up lithic artifacts dated to the Acheulean. The available data from the primary regions that have been studied suggest a colonization of the coastal and forest zones, of the Senegal River Basin as well as the Falémé Valley, of Niger, the Adrar in Mauritania, the Tilemsi, the Volta, and Lake Chad. However, this idea is based primarily on the continuous geographic repartition of “Acheulean localities” defined in this article as the entire collection of areas in which only a few artifacts attributed to the Acheulean on the basis of typological criteria have been found. On the other hand, the “Acheulean sites,” which are very scarce, are defined here as places where excavations have taken place or as the area layout of significant collections. The repartition of Acheulean sites and localities marked by this geography bears witness to the adaptation of human groups to a great, mosaic-like diversity of environments.


  • Archaeology

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