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La Mouillah point from Taforalt (15,500-15,000 cal BP), characteristic of the Middle Iberomaurusian. These are backed bladelets with a trihedral point. When the piece is oriented point upward, the removal that creates the trihedral point is always on the left side with no known exceptions (Tixier 1963:107-108).
  Iberomaurusian culture

The Iberomaurusian ("of Iberia and Mauritania"; it was once believed that it extended into Spain) is a backed bladelet lithic industry found close to the coasts of Northwest Africa and Libya.[1] Its name, meaning "of Iberia and Mauritania", is based on Pallary (1909)'s belief[2] that it extended over the strait of Gibraltar into Spain and Portugal, a theory now generally discounted (Garrod 1938).[3]

Pallary (1909) originally described the industry based on material found at the site of Abri Mouillah.[2] Because the name of the Iberomaurusian assumes a cultural contact that might not have existed, other names have been proposed, including "Mechta-Afalou", "Mouillian" and "Oranian".[3][4] Yet, at least to the West of Libya, none of these terms have supplanted what already in 1963, Tixier called the "deplorable and deplored term of 'Iberomaurusian'".[5]:95 The term "Oranian" has become popular in Libya, where sites are described as "eastern Oranian" (where "western Oranian", which is not used, would be what in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia is called Iberomaurusian).

Recent fieldwork indicates that the Iberomaurusian culture existed in the region from around the timing of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), at 20,000 BP, until the Younger Dryas (~10,000).[6][7][8] The industry is succeeded by the Capsian culture, which was originally thought to have spread into the Maghreb from the Near East.[9] However, later studies suggest that the Iberomaurusian may have been the progenitors of the Capsian.[10][11]

Although modern populations in the Maghreb speak languages belonging to the Afro-Asiatic family, which is associated with the Capsian culture, it has been hypothesized that the Capsians' predecessors, the Iberomaurusians, may have spoken a language(s) from a different phylum. This was inferred from the likelihood that the Iberomaurusians existed prior to the advent of the Proto-Afro-Asiatic language, as well as from the presence of what appears to be an older, pre-Afro-Asiatic population substratum in parts of the Atlas Mountains. Despite suggestions that this minor element may be related to the Basques of southwestern Europe, there appear to be no vestiges of a Basque linguistic influence in the region.[12]


In 2013, Iberomaurusian skeletons from the prehistoric sites of Taforalt and Afalou were analyzed for ancient DNA. All of the specimens belonged to maternal clades associated with either North Africa or the northern and southern Mediterranean littoral, indicating gene flow between these areas since the Epipaleolithic.[13] The ancient Taforalt individuals carried the mtDNA Haplogroup N subclades like U6, H, JT and V, which points to population continuity in the region dating from the Iberomaurusian period.[14] In 2016 it has been identified mtDNA haplogroups H or U, T2b, JT or H14b1, J, J1c3f, H1, R0a1a, R0a2c, H2a1e1a, H2a2a1, H6a1a8, H14b1, U4a2b, U4c1, U6d3.[15]

A 2003 sequencing on the mitochondrial DNA of two Cro-Magnons (23,000-year-old Paglicci 52 and 24,720-year-old Paglicci 12) identified the mtDNA as Haplogroup N.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Camps, G., 1974. Les Civilisations Préhistoriques de l'Afrique du Nord et du Sahara, Paris: Doin
  2. ^ a b Pallary, P., 1909. Instructions pour la recherche préhistorique dans le Nord-Ouest de l'Afrique, Algiers.
  3. ^ a b D.A.E Garrod (1938). "The Upper Palaeolithic in the light of recent discovery". Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 4 (1). pp. 1-26. doi:10.1017/S0079497X00021113. 
  4. ^ Balout, L., 1955. Préhistoire de l'Afrique du Nord, Paris: Arts et Métiers Graphiques
  5. ^ J. Tixier (1963). Typologie de l'épipaléolithique du Maghreb. Algiers: Centre de recherches anthropologiques, préhistoriques et ethnographiques. 
  6. ^ https://books.google.pl/books?id=dftPHu1o2s8C&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=iberomaurusian+dated&source=bl&ots=mSUIdAFKxx&sig=n--8pkFVYX6R2ihJRGYkaYFpCf4&hl=pl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwixoJe7jozZAhXM7VMKHVNABZUQ6AEIVTAF#v=onepage&q=iberomaurusian%20dated&f=false
  7. ^ https://books.google.pl/books?id=bBo8GplXPb4C&pg=PA321&lpg=PA321&dq=iberomaurusian+dated&source=bl&ots=7cyYAGlCts&sig=ZA6t6VKL99NmXi5tFsFnKNAR6dw&hl=pl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwixoJe7jozZAhXM7VMKHVNABZUQ6AEIQTAD#v=onepage&q=iberomaurusian%20dated&f=false
  8. ^ Bouzouggar, A. et al., 2008. Reevaluating the Age of the Iberomaurusian in Morocco. African Archaeological Review, 25(1), pp.3-19
  9. ^ Camps, G., 1974. Les Civilisations Préhistoriques de l'Afrique du Nord et du Sahara, Paris: Doin
  10. ^ Lubell, D., Sheppard, P. & Jackes, M., 1984. Continuity in the Epipalaeolithic of North Africa with Emphasis on the Maghreb. Advances in World Archaeology, 3, pp.143-191
  11. ^ Irish, J.D., 2000. The Iberomaurusian enigma: North African progenitor or dead end? Journal of Human Evolution, 39(4), pp.393-410
  12. ^ Fleming, Harold (1965). The age-grading cultures of East Africa: an historical inquiry, Volume 2. University of Pittburgh. p. 348. Retrieved 2016. 
  13. ^ Kefi R, Bouzaid E, Stevanovitch A, Beraud-Colomb E. "MITOCHONDRIAL DNA AND PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSIS OF PREHISTORIC NORTH AFRICAN POPULATIONS" (PDF). ISABS. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  14. ^ Bernard Secher; Rosa Fregel; José M Larruga; Vicente M Cabrera; Phillip Endicott; José J Pestano & Ana M González. "The history of the North African mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U6 gene flow into the African, Eurasian and American continents". BMC Evolutionary Biology. Retrieved 2016. 
  15. ^ On the origin of Iberomaurusians: new data based on ancient mitochondrial DNA and phylogenetic analysis of Afalou and Taforalt populations, 2016.
  16. ^ Caramelli, D; Lalueza-Fox, C; Vernesi, C; Lari, M; Casoli, A; Mallegni, F; Chiarelli, B; Dupanloup, I; Bertranpetit, J; Barbujani, G; Bertorelle, G (May 2003). "Evidence for a genetic discontinuity between Neandertals and 24,000-year-old anatomically modern Europeans". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 100 (11): 6593-7. Bibcode:2003PNAS..100.6593C. doi:10.1073/pnas.1130343100. PMC 164492 Freely accessible. PMID 12743370. 

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