The Transition from Hunting–Gathering to Food Production in the Gamo Highlands of Southern Ethiopia

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Gamo Highlands, Anthropogenic deposits, Plant domestication, Hunting–gathering

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology


Over three field seasons between 2007 and 2012, we excavated three caves—Mota, Tuwatey, and Gulo—situated at an average elevation of 2,084 m above sea level in the cool and moist Boreda Gamo Highlands of southwestern Ethiopia. Anthropogenic deposits in these caves date from the Middle to Late Holocene (ca. 6000 to 100 BP) and provide excellent preservation of material culture, fauna, flora, and human skeletal remains from which to investigate changes in technologies and habitat use over the last several thousand years. Here, we present results and interpretations, suggesting ways in which Holocene communities of the Boreda Gamo Highlands constructed new landscapes and technologies in their transition from hunting and gathering to an agropastoral way of life.

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