Time scale for southern Tanzania

The archaeological record in Eastern Africa is divided into a number of stages, each with its own characteristic features. This chart reviews the sequence. Note that some areas (Kenya, northern Tanzania, but not southern Tanzania) have a Pastoral Neolithic in between the LSA and Iron Age. It is associated with the first ceramics and domesticated animals. If there is no "Neolithic", then the Iron Age marks their appearance.

Cultural period Dates Characteristics Representative artifacts or sites
historic from the beginning of historic records to present written documents; early civilizations Swahili door
Iron Age 3,000 years ago to historic times first ceramics, domesticated plants and animals; iron smelting and smithing; village life; origin and spread of Bantu speaking peoples Iron Age pot from HxIo1
Later Stone Age or LSA 30/40,000 to around 3,000 years ago microlithic technology; composite tools; hunting and gathering LSA stone tools
Middle Stone Age or MSA 200,000 to 30/40,000 years ago retouched flake tools such as scrapers and points; with or without Levallois technology; hunter/gatherers MSA artifacts from IcIu4
Acheulean 1.5 million to 200,000 years ago large bifacial tools (handaxes and cleavers); later sites have flake tools made with Levallois technology; hunter/gatherers Handaxes from Isimila
Oldowan 2.5 to 1.5 million years ago pebble and flake tools; earliest evidence of technology; foragers; hunters or scavengers Hominid butchery stamp

Click here to go back to the top.

Click here to go back to the research page.

Click here to go back to my home page.