101-120 of 202 Results

Article

The Late Iron Age period in Kenya spans between 1000 BP and 200 BP. However, not much is known regarding this time period owing to the past direction of research in Kenya. Investigations concentrated on earlier archaeological periods due to the country’s richness in early human and technological evolution. As such the bias was not only in the research periods at the time but also, in the fact that, only those areas that were believed to yield such materials were explored. Most research was therefore conducted around the Kenyan Rift Valley until the late 1960s onwards, when the British Institute in Eastern Africa and others started to explore later archaeological and historical periods in the whole of Kenya. These researches, however, failed to recognize the evidence of mosaic in Iron Age sites, which was caused by complexities of diverse processes of replacement, admixture, interactions, and resistance in encounters between expanding and existing populations. Thus the name “Iron Age” for the period in question has been maintained denoting a period when iron was the most important or unique phenomenon, in total disregard of all the other social, political, and economic aspects. Use of oral traditions and genetic materials have, however, contributed greatly in filling the gaps, thus making it possible for archaeologists to understand the mosaic nature of archaeological materials resulting from interactions between populations who may have been culturally and socially distinct but lived during the same archaeological period. The available data show that the sites of this period range from open habitations, caves, and rock shelters to drystone structures, and that the human and environmental interactions were mutually beneficial to both. However, deeper understanding of land use and crop utilization is limited due to inadequate botanical datasets, since archaeobotanical recovery methods were rarely employed as a necessary direction of inquiry. This notwithstanding, as opposed to the environmental determinism theory, the populations of this period were not in sync with the environment, but rather, they were active participants who shaped it to suit their needs. Where resources such as water were not readily available, they improvised by tapping and managing them to suit their preferred occupations. Humans took advantage of natural landforms, climatic zones, and vegetation to shape different aspects of their lifestyles including economic subsistence, habitations, trade, and human-to-human interactions especially during environmental stress. Thus these populations must not be seen as helpless receivers from the environment, but active shapers and innovators of their lifestyles.

Article

All living kinds, human and nonhuman, require rights to water. A UN Declaration upholds rights to clean drinking water and basic sanitation for humans, and some environmental legislation seeks to assure minimal flows of water in ecosystems. However, such rights are situated within complex social and political relations that are often far from equal. The distribution and management of water is entangled in issues such as ethnicity, class, gender, and levels of enfranchisement, and is heavily dependent upon how beliefs and values about water are represented in dominant narratives. Although water has been regarded a “common good” for millennia, many forms of collective ownership of freshwater have been overridden by colonial appropriations and by attempts to enclose and privatize water resources and to reframe them as commercial assets. An accelerating global water crisis caused by climate change, intensifying farming, and the over-allocation of water resources reveals unsustainable pressures on freshwater ecosystems. There have been concomitant losses of access to water for less powerful human communities, and most particularly for nonhuman beings. As a result, approximately two hundred species become extinct every day. Widespread environmental degradation has caused indigenous communities to critique the exploitative practices of colonial societies and to promote alternate and more egalitarian visions of human-nonhuman relationships. Inspired by these alternate cultural beliefs and values, and sometimes in alliance with indigenous people, conservation organizations and environmental activists have sought ecological justice to protect nonhuman beings and their habitats. Many are demanding that the UN should declare “rights for nature” and that the International Court of Criminal Justice should define “ecocide” as an international crime. Anthropologists have challenged dominant dualisms about culture and nature, providing accounts of diverse cultural worldviews in which all living kinds inhabit a nonbifurcated world. They have underlined the fluid interelationalities between human and nonhuman beings and the material environment. Building on a strong disciplinary history of advocating for human rights, they are exploring ways to articulate nonhuman needs and interests, for example, in new forms of river catchment management. There is growing consensus about the need to encourage forms of “pan-species democracy” that will ensure that all living kinds have sufficient rights to water and to the conditions that enable them to flourish.

Article

The coexistence of the Kansyore-Later Stone Age (LSA) hunter-gatherer and the Early Iron Age (EIA)-Urewe-farmer cultural materials in the same cultural deposits and environmental space can no longer be dismissed as accidental admixture. At Kansyore Island in western Uganda, it is clear that the Kansyore hunter-gatherer and Urewe-farmers are two cultural periods presumed to be widely separated in time and space but that coexist together in the same stratigraphic contexts suggesting interaction and coexistence. This implies that the line between the two is blurred. Therefore, the transition from hunting-gathering to farming was not linear but involved forward and backward movements and was not similar in all places but rather complex.

Article

Marlize Lombard and Katharine Kyriacou

“Hunter-gatherer” refers to the range of human subsistence patterns and socio-economies since the Late Pleistocene (after about 126,000 years ago), some of which are still practiced in rare pockets across the globe. Hunter-gatherer research is centered on ethnohistorical records of the lifeways, economies, and interpersonal relationships of groups who gather field and wild foods and hunt for meat. Information collected in this way is cautiously applied to the Stone Age and Paleolithic archaeological records to inform on or build hypotheses about past human behaviors. Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers possessed the behavioral, technological, and cognitive wherewithal to populate the globe. Hunter-gatherer groups are often relatively egalitarian regarding power and gender relationships. But, as is the case for all mammals, only females bear offspring. This biological reality has socioeconomic and behavioral implications when it comes to food supply. Whereas humans share the principles of the mammalian reproductive process, only humans evolved to occupy a unique cogni-behavioral niche in which we are able to outsmart other animal competition in the quest for survival on any given landscape. Since early on in our history, women of our species gave birth to relatively large-brained offspring with considerable cognitive potential compared to that of other animals. Key to this development is the consumption of specific foods, which contain brain-selective nutrients such as omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and trace elements including iron, iodine, copper, selenium, and zinc. Such nutrients are important for all peoples past and present. Ethnohistorical and nutritional evidence shows that edible plants and small animals, most often gathered by women, represent an abundant and accessible source of “brain foods.” This is in contrast to the “man the hunter” hypothesis where big-game hunting and meat-eating are seen as prime movers in the development of biological and behavioral traits that distinguish humans from other primates.

Article

Jocelyn Marrow

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Please check back later for the full article. Even though hysteria is no longer a diagnostic category in Western medical systems, the phenomena to which it referred have remained productive of anthropological deliberation. This may be due to the dramatic and highly variable nature of hysterias and related afflictions as observed. Hysterias are shape-shifters, with signs and symptoms varying according to their historical and cultural niches. Further, hysterias demand notice and response from those who witness them. Interpretation is the sine qua non of hysteria, rendering it irresistible to vernacular and scholarly meaning-making. In the late 19th and early 20th century, hysteria was a diagnosis commonly given by physicians practicing in European and North American medical traditions to individuals (mostly women) whose wide-ranging motoric symptoms were thought to be caused by psychological distress. In the present, hysteria is no longer a medical diagnosis; it persists in common English language usage as a pejorative term to refer to excessive emotional displays. Contemporary medical diagnostics replace hysteria with a bevy of psychosomatic illness diagnoses, including conversion disorder, dissociative reaction, and functional neurological disorder, among others. There are at least three ways that anthropological scholarship engages with hysteria. The first, and historically earliest, applies the postulated psychodynamics of hysteria to explain spirit possession—the phenomenon in which an individual’s body is engulfed by that of a supernatural being such as the soul of a deceased human, a divinity, or a demon. This anthropological literature postulates that spirit possession involves altered states of consciousness, such as hypnosis or trance, to explain the belief that the self may be overwhelmed by a will not its own. The idea that another entity is speaking and acting in place of the host’s volition allows the host to express anger at injustices perpetrated against them. This genre of writing about hysteria and hysteria-like phenomena argues that it is a “weapon of the weak.” The second way in which scholarship engages with hysteria is through examining the politics of the labels “hysteria” and “hysterical,” and documenting how powerful people may deploy the label “hysteria” to disparage the complaints of marginalized or disempowered people. In these instances, anthropologists have examined the event, or series of events, to argue that the grievances provoking complaint are real and serious, rather than exaggerated or “all in the heads” of those making them. A third strand of research emerges from fieldwork in medical anthropology and examines the contemporary sociocultural contexts in which people are given hysteria-like diagnoses (such as conversion disorder or dissociative trance disorder) in clinical settings. These studies are based on fieldwork in diverse clinical settings relying upon Western medical categories and treatments.

Article

Bernard Perley

Indigenous anthropology is an emergent praxis of Indigenous knowledge production that can be vaguely translated and tentatively identified as approximating anthropological enquiry in the Western sense of the social science. The decolonizing practices by Indigenous scholars have outlined contours of critical Indigenous praxis that seek to liberate Indigenous communities from colonial and settler hegemonies of knowledge production, dissemination of knowledges, and the ongoing constraints colonial systems of systemic racism have imposed on Indigenous peoples as a global phenomenon. The growing call for a world anthropology inadvertently imposes an uncritical ventriloquism on Indigenous peoples who are attempting to contribute to the discipline of anthropology from the situated perspectives of diverse Indigenous communities. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) provided a catalyzing moment for a global Indigeneity that brings the diverse experiences together for mutual consultation and strategic planning. Indigeneity as a global phenomenon also creates the potential for the discipline of anthropology to shed its colonial roots and consider the prospects for a vibrant anthropology that truly reflects a shared human experience and does not privilege one knowledge over another.

Article

Michael Blim

Inequality in all its forms is common to human societies, and thus its understanding is part of the central mission of anthropology. Social structural elements such as race, class, gender, status, and caste have a decisive influence on human well-being and have been a persistent focus of inquiry over the course of more than a century of anthropological investigations. It is also fair to say that anthropologists over time have adopted as core values equal protection and equal opportunity for all peoples. These principles have been applied by extension most recently to sexual minorities, stateless refugees, and migrants.

Article

Jörg Niewöhner

The notion of infrastructure commonly refers to the networked technical support structures that facilitate the provision of services and the movement of goods, people, and ideas through space. In anthropology, the notion of infrastructure also designates an analytic. As such, infrastructure is sensitive to the constant interweaving of technical objects, social organization, knowledge practices, and moral orders. Three key perspectives have been formative for this analytic: historical materialism, the historical and social construction of technology, and the ethnography of infrastructure. The wealth of current infrastructure research revolves around the discussion of four current topics: technopolitics, poetics and promises, paradoxes, and thinking infrastructures. Infrastructure as a theoretical framework holds potential as a new Anthropocene anthropology through minor and terrestrial infrastructuring.

Article

Stable isotope methods are firmly established as a key tool for investigating the diets of ancient humans, offering insights into broad dietary composition at the scale of an individual’s life. African archaeology and ecosystems have played an important role in the global development of stable isotope approaches, but archaeological applications have been constrained in many African settings by poor preservation conditions for organic remains and limited institutional capacity for large analytical sampling programs. Yet growing numbers of research and training laboratories around the world, declining relative analytical costs, and increasing familiarity among archaeologists and paleoecologists with both the prospects and limitations of stable isotope approaches, all indicate that such methods will continue to increase in importance for modern archaeological practice. Complex ecological patterning in carbon, nitrogen, and other isotopes within Africa offers a rich background for interpretation. Carbon isotopes largely reflect patterning in vegetation, with the major isotopic distinction between tropical grasses and most other plants aiding the reconstruction of broad food classes. Aquatic and terrestrial environments may also differ sharply in carbon isotope patterning, providing a tool for investigating marine food exploitation. Nitrogen isotope patterning, by comparison with carbon isotopes, is more complex and less well-characterized in many African environments but has been useful for identifying the consumption of marine resources. Other isotopes, including sulfur, strontium, oxygen, and metal isotopes, such as calcium and zinc, may offer complementary insights that can help to interpret ancient food systems. Analyses of enamel carbon isotopes from eastern and South African hominins have demonstrated the significance of diverse dietary resources for millions of years among several groups of hominins, including the gracile and robust australopithecines and early Homo. The puzzle of extensive consumption of 13C-enriched foods, especially among the eastern African robust australopithecines, has driven wide-ranging research into the dietary diversity of hominin species, targeting questions of ecological niche separation and dietary flexibility. In southern African coastal settings, stable isotope evidence for differential access to dietary resources among foraging groups has demonstrated the maintenance of more sedentary, territorial settlement systems during some periods in the Holocene. Research in these fields is ongoing, with new insights emerging from applications of alternative isotopic systems, increased sampling resolution, and sophisticated statistical modeling approaches.

Article

Magdalena Villarreal and Joshua Greene

Financial practices only partially entail money. People and institutions weave their economic lives intermixing pecuniary but also social, cultural, geographic, moral, and emotional elements. These elements are often knitted together in ways that appear erratic or that only conform to established models in a single dimension, which leaves the analyst ill-informed concerning the workings of finance in everyday life. Fortunately, conceptual tools to go beyond narrow economic perspectives and explore the interaction of the multiple dimensions involved are on the rise. In this effort, it is critical to explore such dimensions in motion. People act in certain social milieus, push distinct fundamentals, exclude others, do their best to meet specific goals, and prioritize or overlook certain issues. Such actions are framed in what we can call economic exchange “languages” wherein assessments of equivalence are interpreted according to conventional significations. This brings up the notion of currencies, not only those represented in dollars, pesos, or euros, but currencies portraying values in social, symbolic, and cultural terms that embody economic transactions. Currencies flow within specific circuits involving different means of equivalence that entail diverse normative and moral frameworks. Multiple currencies coexist and interplay in everyday life, and people and institutions are obliged to juggle in order to make do. The allusion to juggling of currencies implies that there are a number of different economic and livelihood circuits that people operate in simultaneously. Some of these circuits involve religion, gender, identity, family, and markets, which operate with distinct criteria. Others involve hard cash or perhaps social and symbolic assets. It is the act of keeping these multiple circuits in motion at the same time that is the juggling of currencies. Juggling currencies is a key to success, however success may be depicted. Placing the lens on borderlines and transborder crossings is revealing, particularly when the aim is to explore monetary practices and economic lives. It is here that discontinuities, conflicts, and dilemmas become evident. People who are obliged to operate in two or more officially sanctioned monetary currencies, for example, need to be deeply knowledgeable about different normative frameworks and schemes of value equivalences wherein diverse social categories, expectations, and moralities are mobilized. Juggling is the name of the game.

Article

Naveeda Khan

Actual, possible, and potential relations between Kant and anthropology in early-21st-century scholarship are worth exploring. Within the realm of actual relations, classical figures within anthropology took up Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reason to understand the nature of thinking and morality within so-called primitive societies. They sought to put society before mind within Kant’s architectonic of thought and to posit classification, or relational thinking, as equally important as cognition. Within possible relations, contemporary anthropologists engaged Kant’s anthropology or Kant as a possible anthropologist in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View or “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” or set apart their enterprise of studying ethics from his on morality. A very central question that Kant’s writings posed for them was whether the figure of the human was knowable, to which anthropology added its own nuance by asking whether we can assume it is the same human or reason across all contexts. Within potential relations, writings on the history and method of anthropology both critiqued and celebrated the inheritance of German romanticism, understood as an intellectual trend, a methodology, a sensibility, a mystical orientation, and a celebration of individual singularity and genius within anthropology. In contrast to this mode of inheriting romanticism, a more Kantian-inflected understanding of the romantic movement, mediated by different figures, suggested itself as a productive point of entry for anthropology to understand the philosophical underpinnings of its preferred methods (e.g., fieldwork), its engagement with philosophy beyond that of agonism and possible arrogation, and its re-engagement with the question of the human in relation to itself, other humans and nonhumans, and nature. The fragment, one of romanticism’s greatest creations and a complex response to Kant’s two world metaphysics, appears to anthropology through both trajectories and, in keeping with anthropology’s evolving relation to philosophy, anthropology provides its own spin on the importance of the fragment for inhabiting the world.

Article

Ben Bridges and Sarah Osterhoudt

Broadly, landscapes can be considered terrains of connectivity. Landscapes encompass wild, cultivated, urban, feral, and fallow spaces, as well as the human and nonhuman entities who inhabit and shape them. Memory refers to the past as it exists in the present, bridging temporally discrete moments through the intentional or unintentional act of remembering. Memory studies, from the view of anthropology, include explorations of individual forms of remembrance, as well as the collective, heterogenous ways of marking, interpreting, and erasing the past. Taken together, landscapes and memory co-constitute one another: landscapes store, depict, and evoke memories while memories recall, revise, and shape landscapes. Knowledge and power are inevitably wrapped up in the relationship, and anthropologists have investigated the manifest ways such forces emerge through human acts of cultivation, commemoration, nostalgia, and forgetting. Because landscapes and memory appear in both physical and immaterial forms, the social constructs, cultural expressions, and human and nonhuman relationships on which they are based generate rich material for anthropological study. While landscape and memory are surely topics independently worthy of study, undertaking the two in tandem elucidates the intertwining threads that bind together space and time; such studies interrogate realms of personal meaning and political power while simultaneously highlighting dynamic processes of adaptation, improvisation, and erasure.

Article

Scholars studying the anthropology of work have traditionally been interested in questions of power, class, inequality, moral economy, and the transformations brought about by global capitalism. To address these larger questions, workplace ethnography gives attention to both interactional and systemic level analysis, making linguistic methods a powerful tool for studying both talk at work and institutional discourse. Language has many social functions within the workplace, from the organization of tasks and goals to the ways people navigate relationships and perform identity. Linguistic theoretical and methodological perspectives are applied to the study of power and gatekeeping practices in institutional settings, performance of identity and gender at work, and inequalities related to race, ethnicity, and perceptions of accent. Linguistic practices in the neoliberal global economy are also an economic resource to be managed, regulated, scripted, and marketed, as part of the reflexive project of worker self-improvement. Language is also a form of labor itself in global customer service interactions, accent-reduction training, and contexts of tourism. Thus, workplace ethnography and language study complement each other, and linguistic methods and theory may be applied to major questions in the field of anthropology of work.

Article

Jillian R. Cavanaugh

Linguistic anthropology is the study of language as social action. Linguistic anthropologists study how people use language, and how, in using language, people are also defining and displaying who they are, enacting their membership in particular groups, and bringing various types of truths into being. Language, then, is a set of practices that people engage in every day in numerous forms, which helps to define their positions in their families, communities, workplaces, schools, and even nation-states. How one speaks is not only who one is—it is what one does. This is possible because language is multifunctional, that is, it works in many different ways to connect people, convey meanings and feelings, move people to action, and define who they are. The major functions of language are the referential function, the emotive function, the conative function, the poetic function, the phatic function, the metalinguistic function, and the indexical function, which often overlap when people use language and are shaped by language ideologies, that is, the beliefs and attitudes that shape speakers’ relationships to their own and others’ languages, mediating between the social practice of language and the socioeconomic, historical, and political structures within which it occurs. Language use is part of what makes humans human, and as anthropologists, focused on how humans live and make sense of each other and the world, language should always be part of what anthropologists attend to and investigate.

Article

Linguistic and cultural shift are some of the most pressing issues facing minoritized speakers around the world. Language revitalization initiatives seek to increase the number of speakers through various pedagogical and social interventions. Language, however, is not simply a code transmitted between individuals, but comprised of a wealth of associated practices, norms, and forms of interaction in which that code has meaning. Multimodality is both an approach to the various communicative modes or semiotic fields of language, as well as a form of ethnographic practice related to media. Multimodality matters for the pedagogical methods, communicative modes, and media technologies involved in language revitalization. A multimodal approach to language revitalization includes modalities beyond a single communicative channel or form of media in recognition of the multifunctional and multidimensional nature of language.

Article

Derek Newberry and Eric Gruebel

Since at least the 1930s, anthropologists have been conducting research on the dynamics and features of leadership and organizational development. After a period of dormancy lasting from the middle of the century to the end of the 1970s, work in the field has taken off. Drawing on two of anthropology’s defining features—the ethnographic method and the culture concept—scholars working within the field have provided an alternative and productive approach to a subject studied across a range of disciplines. As is the case throughout anthropology, no one definition of culture serves as the universal touchstone for the anthropological study of organizations. Still, anthropologists working within the field commonly reject any notion of culture as static, uniform, or fully bounded within an organization. Unlike in the traditional management scholarship, there are few explanatory frameworks on effective leadership or organizational functioning in the anthropological literature. This different emphasis is a byproduct of the larger trend toward reflexivity over the last two decades, in which anthropologists have increasingly challenged both the concept of “culture” itself and attempts to develop broad theoretical frameworks. For anthropologists of organizations, this shift has created a division between more academically oriented scholars who produce small-scale ethnographies that resist generalization and applied anthropologists who have created more practical, method-focused guides to the field. At the same time, academics and practitioners in fields like design-thinking and industrial-organizational psychology have developed their own, anthropologically informed approaches and theories for understanding leadership and cultural change in organizations. Entering the third decade of the 20th century, it remains to be seen whether the field will continue down this divided path or instead reconnect with its roots in broad cultural theory, leading to greater efforts to synthesize practical, academic, and interdisciplinary approaches to develop new theoretical frameworks.

Article

Archaeological heritage is fragile and nonrenewable. In Africa, it is vulnerable to developmental projects in construction, mining, and agriculture as well as intentional and unintentional vandalism through everyday use and tourism. Looting, illegal trade of antiquities, and terrorism have also emerged as other significant threats to archaeological heritage in Africa. Looting and vandalism of sites and objects result from lax monitoring mechanisms and a general lack of awareness of archaeological matters among the public. Although most African countries have the legal protection of archaeological heritage, the effectiveness of these has been under question. African heritage legislations have been criticized for the lack of predevelopment assessments that would ensure the protection of recorded and unrecorded archaeological heritage. They have also been censured for protecting just the physical aspects of archaeological heritage, leaving out the intangible aspects that actually give the heritage value, especially among African communities. Another challenge was the exclusion of local communities and customary management systems in the protection of archaeological heritage. Provisions for counteracting looting and illegal trade in antiquities, coming especially from archaeological sites, were also considered weak and requiring improvements. The response to the debate on the effectiveness of the legal protection of heritage has been varied across the continent. Some African countries have responded by writing new laws, amending old ones, or providing other supporting legal provisions such as national cultural policies or regulations. Countries that have instituted new legal provisions include Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Mali, Egypt, Mauritania, and the Republic of the Congo. Those who reworked their protective mechanisms have attempted to address many of the issues raised. Countries such as Namibia, Botswana, and Mali have included clearly defined provisions for predevelopment assessments. Others such as Liberia included archaeological heritage in their environmental protection laws. Although fewer countries have had legislation to protect intangible aspects, supporting legal provisions such as national cultural policies have helped in this regard. However, very little has been done on the inclusion of customary laws and systems of archaeological protection. Going forward, African nations have to quickly consider emerging issues such as digital manipulation, heritage-based product development, increased need for intervention conservation, and sustainable economic utilization of heritage for the development of individuals, communities, and nations. The legislative process in Africa has to be expedited to quickly and efficiently deal with these issues before they cause harm to the archaeological heritage.

Article

Michael Chazan

Levallois refers to a way of making stone tools that is a significant component of the technological adaptations of both Neanderthals and early modern humans. Although distinctive Levallois artifacts were identified already in the 19th century, a consensus on the definition of the Levallois and clear criteria for distinguishing Levallois from non-Levallois artifacts remain elusive. At a general level, Levallois is one variant on prepared core technology. In a prepared core approach to stone tool manufacture, the worked material (the core) is configured and maintained to allow for the production of detached pieces (flakes) whose morphology is constrained by the production process. The difficulty for archaeologists is that Levallois refers to a particular process of manufacture rather than a discrete finality. The study of Levallois exposes limitations of typological approaches to artifact analysis and forces a consideration of the challenges in creating a solid empirical basis for characterizing technological processes.

Article

Andrew Brandel

Literature is often understood to be one of anthropology’s most recurrent and provocative companions in thought. The relationship between the two has taken a number of different and variously interrelated forms. Perhaps the most familiar of these is the theorization of the anthropologist’s status as a writer; this work tends to take its cue from certain strands of postmodernism and invokes literary techniques as tools through which to address concerns around representation and the evocation of lived experience. A second important, if often overlooked, area of research involves the study of concrete literary practices including reading, writing, performing, sharing, and listening, whether by means of ethnographic fieldwork or anthropological modes of textual analysis. Finally, there are the myriad relationships that anthropologists have maintained with particular literary figures or texts, which have proven essential to their thinking and to their lives.

Article

Nicholas Taylor

The Lupemban is an industry of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) that is found across the Congo Basin and on its plateau margins in central Africa. It takes its name from the site of Lupemba that was discovered in 1944 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, then the Belgian Congo). The Lupemban’s distinctive toolkit of elongated lanceolate bifaces, core-axes, points, blades, and other small tools coincides with the equatorial forest belt and is suitable for constructing hafted implements, which has led to speculation it was a special and specific prehistoric adaptation to rainforest foraging. Although poorly dated across most of its geographic range, radiometric dates for the Lupemban at Twin Rivers (Zambia) show it is at least ~265 ka years old, placing it among the oldest known expressions of the regional MSA. As such, the Lupemban bears on 21st-century debates about the evolution of complex cognitive abilities and behaviors that characterize the emergence of Homo sapiens at or before 300 ka bp. In spite of the Lupemban’s potential importance for understanding the evolution of technology, human–environment interactions, and cognition in early Homo sapiens, the industry remains enigmatic and poorly understood. Logistical, ecological, and political challenges continue to impede fieldwork in central Africa. Moreover, at sites including Gombe Point (DRC), severe soil bioturbation by tree roots has caused the vertical displacement of buried artifacts, which corrupts the basic integrity of stratigraphic sequences. This problem is known to be widespread and means that after 100 years of research, central Africa still lacks a refined Stone Age cultural sequence. Consequently, very little is known about spatiotemporal variability within the Lupemban, or its specific environmental or cultural adaptations. At the site of Kalambo Falls (Zambia), the industry is found in secondary but stratified context, which, as of the early 21st century, offers the best glimpse into Lupemban technology and its potential evolutionary significance.