The Capsian industry was concentrated mainly in modern Tunisia and Algeria
, with some lithic
sites attested from southern Spain
. It is traditionally divided into two horizons, the Capsien typique
(Typical Capsian) and the Capsien supérieur
(Upper Capsian), which are sometimes found in chronostratigraphic sequence. Sometimes, a third period, Capsian Neolithic
(6,200-5,300 BP) is also specified. They represent variants of one tradition, the differences between them being both typological and technological.
Anatomically, Capsian populations were modern Homo sapiens
, traditionally classed into two variegate types: Proto-Mediterranean
on the basis of cranial morphology. Some have argued that they were immigrants from the east (Natufians
whereas others argue for population continuity based on physical skeletal characteristics and other criteria.
Given the Capsian culture's timescale, widespread occurrence in the Sahara
, and geographic association with modern speakers of the Afroasiatic languages, historical linguists have tentatively associated the industry with the Afroasiatic family's earliest speakers on the continent.
Nothing is known about Capsian religion, but their burial methods suggest a belief in an afterlife. Decorative art is widely found at their sites, including figurative and abstract rock art
, and ochre
is found coloring both tools and corpses. Ostrich eggshells
were used to make beads and containers; seashells
were used for necklaces. The Ibero-Maurusian
practice of extracting the central incisors
continued sporadically, but became rarer.
The main sites of the Iberomaurusian and Capsian cultures in north Africa
A Capsian ostrich-egg bottle
Typical Capsian burial (Tunisia)
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Last edited on 11 December 2020, at 14:14
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