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Yonatan Sahle

Dr Yonatan Sahle is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at UCT. He received a PhD from UCT in 2013, and was a postdoctoral fellow at The University of California, Berkeley. Sahle worked as a Research Group Leader at the University of Tübingen (Germany) before taking up his UCT position in 2020.

Dr Sahle is a broadly trained archaeologist with research interests spanning technological change, prehistoric weaponry, hominin carnivory, and lithic ethnoarchaeology. He has participated in archaeological fieldwork in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Greece. Sahle’s current research is primarily focused on understanding behavioral, paleobiological, and environmental contexts across the evolution of Homo sapiens. To comprehensively understand these aspects, Sahle leads collaborative field research projects in a) the Lower Awash basin (Afar Rift, Ethiopia), investigating late Middle Pleistocene contexts, and b) rockshelters outside the Rift Valley, studying Late Pleistocene human adaption. These recently launched projects have already yielded remarkable hominid, faunal, and archaeological (including lithics, worked ochre, and rock art) remains that promise rare insights into our species’ evolutionary past.  

Recent Publications

Sahle Y. (2020). Eastern African Stone Age. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. USA: Oxford University Press. 

Oppenheimer C., Khalidi L., Gratuze B., Iverson N., Lane C., Vidal C., Sahle Y., et al. (2019). Risk and reward: explosive eruptions and obsidian lithic resource at Nabro volcano (Eritrea). Quaternary Science Reviews 226, 105995

Sahle Y., and Gossa T. (2019). More data needed for claims about the earliest Oldowan artifacts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 116, 20259-20260

Sahle Y., Giusti D., and Tourloukis V. (2019). Newly discovered Middle Pleistocene hominid-bearing deposits from the Lower Awash basin, Ethiopia. Anthropological Science  

Sahle Y., Giusti D., Gossa T., and Ashkenazy H. (2019). Exploring karst landscapes: New prehistoric sites in south-central Ethiopia. Antiquity 93, 1–6. 

Sahle Y., and Brooks A.S. (2019). Assessment of complex projectiles in the early Late Pleistocene at Aduma, Ethiopia. PLoS ONE 14(5), e0216716  

Sahle Y. (2019). Ethnoarchaeology of compound adhesive production and tool hafting: implications from Hadiya (Ethiopia). Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 53, 43–50.

Sahle Y., Reyes-Centeno H., and Bentz C. [Eds.] (2019). Modern human origins and dispersal. Tübingen: Kerns Verlag. 

Sahle Y., Beyene Y., Defleaur A., Asfaw B., WoldeGabriel G., Hart W.K., Renne P.R., Carlson J., and White T.D. (2019). Human emergence: Perspectives from Herto, Afar Rift, Ethiopia. In: Sahle et al. (Eds.), Modern human origins and dispersal (pp. 105-136). Tübingen: Kerns Verlag.

Sahle Y., Reyes-Centeno H., and Bentz C. (2018). Modern human origins and dispersal: current state of knowledge and future directions. Evolutionary Anthropology 27, 64–67.

Sahle Y., and Braun D.R. (2018). A reply to Douze and Delagnes’s ‘The pattern of emergence of a Middle Stone Age tradition at Gademotta and Kulkuletti (Ethiopia) through convergent tool and point technologies’. Journal of Human Evolution 125, 201–206.

Sahle Y., El Zaatari S., and White T.D. (2017). Hominid butchers and biting crocodiles: Equifinality in Plio-Pleistocene bone modification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 114, 13164–13169.

Shackley M., Sahle Y. (2017). Geochemical provenance of obsidian artifacts from the early Middle Stone Age of Gademotta, Main Ethiopian Rift. Geoarchaeology 32, 302–310.

Sahle Y., and Beyin A. (2017). Archaeological reconnaissance of the Late Pleistocene Red Sea coast in the Danakil (Afar, Ethiopia). Antiquity 91, 1-6.

Sahle Y., and Negash A. (2016). An ethnographic experiment of endscraper curation rate among Hadiya hideworkers, Ethiopia. Lithic Technology 41, 154–163.

Sahle Y., Morgan L.E., Braun D.R., Atnafu B., and Hutchings W.K. (2014). Chronological and behavioral contexts of the earliest Middle Stone Age in the Gademotta Formation, Main Ethiopian Rift. Quaternary International 331, 6–19.

Sahle Y., Hutchings W.K., Braun D.R., Sealy J.C., Morgan L.E., Negash A., and Atnafu B. (2013). Earliest stone-tipped projectiles from the Ethiopian Rift date to >279,000 years ago. PLoS ONE 8(11), e78092.  

Sahle Y., Negash A., and Braun D.R. (2012). Variability in ethnographic hidescraper use among the Hadiya of Ethiopia: Implications for reduction analysis. African Archaeological Review 29(4), 383–397.