Early human settlements in Northern Africa: paleomagnetic evidence from the Ain Hanech Formation (northeastern Algeria)
The question of the earliest hominid settlements in northern Africa has been under debate for a number of years due to the lack of precise chronologies. Here we present new paleomagnetic data that supports an Olduvai Subchron age for the archaeological sites at Ain Hanech and El-Kherba, in northern Algeria. Our study is based on a 22 m-thick magnetostratigraphy of the Ain Hanech Formation, which includes contextualized Oldowan and Acheulian lithic tools. Characteristic remanent magnetization directions were obtained from both thermal and alternating field demagnetization procedures of specimens from twenty five sampled horizons. Our results reveal the presence of the Olduvai Subchron in the upper part of the stratigraphic section, constraining the age of these important archaeological sites in northern Africa.