The geology and chronology of the Acheulean deposits in the Mieso area (East-Central Ethiopia).
This paper presents the Quaternary sequence of the Mieso area of Central-East Ethiopia, located in the piedmont between the SE Ethiopian Escarpment and the Main Ethiopian Rift-Afar Rift transition sector.In this region, a piedmont alluvial plain is terraced at þ25 m above the two main fluvial courses, the Mieso and Yabdo Rivers. The piedmont sedimentary sequence is divided into three stratigraphic units separated by unconformities. Mieso Units I and II contain late Acheulean assemblages and a weakly consolidated alluvial sequence, consisting mainly of fine sediments with buried soils and, to a lesser degree, conglomerates. Palaeo-wetland areas were common in the alluvial plain, represented by patches of tufas, stromatolites and clays. At present, the piedmont alluvial surface is preserved mainly on a dark brown soil formed at the top of Unit II. Unit III corresponds to a fluvial deposit overlying Unit II, and is defined by sands, silty clays and gravels, including several Later Stone Age (LSA) occurrences. Three fine-grained tephra levels are interbedded in Unit I (tuffs TBI and TA) and II (tuff CB), and are usually spatially-constrained and reworked. Argon/argon (40Ar/39Ar) dating from tuff TA, an ash deposit preserved in a palustrine environment, yielded an age of 0.212 ± 0.016 Ma (millions of years ago). This date places thetop of Unit I in the late Middle Pleistocene, with Acheulean sites below and above tuff TA. Regional correlations tentatively place the base of Unit I around the Early-Middle Pleistocene boundary, Unit II inthe late Middle Pleistocene and within the Late Pleistocene, and the LSA occurrences of Unit III in the LatePleistoceneeHolocene.