Stone artifacts from Makpan cave on Alor island date from ~40 ka, filling a gap in the Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3-2 record of southern Wallacea between Liang Bua on Flores to the west, and Asitau Kuru on Timor to the east. Since Alor is a largely volcanic island, the Makpan stone artifacts are dominated by igneous materials, distinguishing them from other Late Pleistocene assemblages on neighboring islands. However, the Makpan lithics exhibit the same focus on imported fine-grained materials and the creation of small flakes (linked traits termed miniaturization) that characterize other MIS 3-2 Wallacean assemblages. Despite sometimes using similar reduction techniques, earlier assemblages from the region produced by extinct hominin species are not miniaturized as they do not feature a combined focus on imported fine-grained stone and the creation of small flakes. Unlike the lithics of extinct hominin species, those from Makpan and other MIS 3â€“2 sites are associated with subsistence on marine invertebrates, fish, and small mammals, as well as the use of red pigment. We suggest that miniaturization was part of an adaptation that facilitated widespread dispersal of Homo sapiens through Wallacea. Double patination on the flake scars of five distinctive artifacts suggests the possibility of an earlier industry on Alor, whose products were recycled during the occupation of Makpan.
|Publication status||Published - 2021|