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Smuggler's Cave

The Dispersal

Given its geographical position next to Europe in the west and to SW Asia in the east, North Africa is an area that has enormous potential for documenting the spread of modern humans to other regions of the Old World.

osa north africa map

Now archaeologists are initiating research on the other side of the African continent on the northern Atlantic coast of Morocco, at the Middle and Upper Paleolithic site of Smuggler’s Cave. Its proximity to southern Europe, and one possible entry point via the Straits of Gibraltar, makes it an extremely promising area of research.


osa archaeologists are in a unique position to understand this spread with two other Middle Paleolithic projects. One is an excavation at Roc de Marsal, France; and the other is a NSF-sponsored research project in the high desert region just west of the Nile Valley corridor in Egypt.

This project, called the Abydos Survey for Prehistoric Sites, began in 2000 and is designed to reconstruct aspects of the adaptation of Middle Paleolithic populations in one of the key areas through which modern humans must have passed as they left the African continent. It will continue through 2007.