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33,000-yr old chert mining site and related Homo in the Egyptian Nile Valley


The Nazlet Khater 4 site (Nile Valley, Upper Egypt) is located on one of the small wadi-interfluves in the lower desert near the steep cliffs bordering the western Nile Valley edge (Fig. 1). We have previously reported1 the excavation of an early Upper Palaeolithic blade industry at this site, although blade industries in the Nile Valley had only been known2 to occur since 18,000 yr ago. The 1982 excavation reported here confirms that Nazlet Khater 4 is a chert mining site with a complex extraction strategy, going back 33,000 yr. A nearby grave contained a skeleton of a man in the extended position. We show that the cranial morphology is anatomically modern with archaic characteristics such as a very robust mandible. There is evidence that the skeleton has a similar age to that of the mining site.

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Vermeersch, P., Paulissen, E., Gijselings, G. et al. 33,000-yr old chert mining site and related Homo in the Egyptian Nile Valley. Nature 309, 342–344 (1984).

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