In 2007, the Max Planck Institute began working with Abdeljalil Bouzouggar of the Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine (INSAP, Rabat, Morocco) at the site of Rhafas. The goals of this project are focused primarily on the late Middle Stone Age and the transition to the Aterian. We are continuing the dating program begun by Mercier, and we are collecting new samples from the upper levels to better describe the lithic assemblages, to better understand the transition to Aterian, to do a zooarchaeological study of the associated fauna, to better understand the paleoenvironmental context, and to better understand the site formation processes.
Four seasons were completed. Currently the team is preparing papers based on the results. New OSL results are expected soon. Some of the shells were discussed in the following publication:
"Additional evidence on the use of personal ornaments in the Middle Paleolithic of North Africa" (2009) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(38):16051-16056. (Francesco d’Errico, Marian Vanhaeren, Nick Barton, Abdeljalil Bouzouggar, Henk Mienis, Daniel Richter, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Shannon P. McPherron, Pierre Lozouet) [pdf]
Doerschner, N., Fitzsimmons, K. E., Ditchfield, P., McLaren, S. J., Steele, T. E., Zielhofer, C., McPherron, S. P., Bouzouggar, A. and Hublin, J.-J. (2016). A New Chronology for Rhafas, Northeast Morocco, Spanning the North African Middle Stone Age through to the Neolithic. PLoS ONE, 11(9), e0162280. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162280.