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Historical background
Under the auspices of the Portuguese colonial government, Lereno Barradas and Santos Júnior (the coordinator of the Anthropological Mission of Mozambique) carried out several archaeological field surveys from 1936-1956 that resulted in a data set that includes a total of close to 90 sites, mostly attributed to the Stone Age. This early research added to the previous work of Van Riet Lowe in the Limpopo Valley of southern Mozambique.

With the new Millennium, Mozambique has emerged as a crucial geographic area to understand the various hypotheses about recent human evolution. Specifically, its coastal location between southern and eastern Africa is ideal for testing ideas about the link between early coastal adaptations and the appearance of Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH). Except for the recent work by Mercader’s team in northern Mozambique, the number of researchers and projects on this topic in Mozambique is still limited because of a general predominance of interest in later periods among archaeologists working in the country, mainly due to their focus on issues related to pre-colonial heritage and national identity.

Based on the early maps from Santos Júnior and more recent data acquired through various projects, we present a series of maps for the Stone Age prehistory of Mozambique. The maps are also based on a critical evaluation of the sites and a review of some of the materials that are presently curated at the IICT (Instituto de Investigação Científica e Tropical) in Lisbon, Portugal, as well as the materials stored at the Department of Archaeology of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo. It is also presented an online database with the information on all sites used in this study. This database is open to all and will be updated continuously.

A preliminary interpretation of the regional distribution of the sites is also attempted, linking aspects that include region, topography and altitude, geomorphology and cultural phase. These results will be a first step for research and knowledge in Mozambique on Stone Age prehistory and the emergence and settlement pattern of AMHs.

Based on information from each site, we have developed an online open database that can be consulted below or in its original and complete format at the following adress:


The database includes a set of variables and tools that can be explored by the user. It includes variables such as site name, district, province, geographic coordinates (Longitude and Latitude based on the datum WGS-84), altitude, accuracy of location, chronology, site type, presence/absence of excavations at the site and correspondent bibliographic references. Since data are shared using the Google Fusion Tables application, users can filter the information and automatically check for locational patterns, regional densities, and information on, for example, chronology and site typology. In addition, there is also one tool with the set of info cards for each site listed in the database.


Mozambique Stone Age sites database (until 2011)




Distribution of Mozambique Stone Age sites (until 2011)