This article reports on developments in archaeological research in North Africa during the last four years, as these are reflected in the 350, or thereabouts, radiocarbon (and thermoluminescence) dates that have appeared since the last review. The number of new dates, and new data, becoming available indicate that North African archaeology is flourishing, although, in contrast to the earlier decades of this century, the focus seems now to be moving toward the eastern part of the region, and toward matters of adaptation rather than of simple classification, as exemplified by the new interpretations of the Dhar Tichitt Neolithic in Mauritania.
The lower Nile Valley has yielded evidence for an intensification of subsistence activities in the Late Palaeolithic in two areas, Makhadma and Kubbaniya, both involving fish-harvesting and the latter also witnessing the use of plant-foods on a scale hitherto undocumented for this period.
At the beginning of the Holocene, there is now good evidence for an eighth millennium bc Neolithic in northern Niger, complete with sophisticated ceramics, which complements the evidence already known for similar phenomena further east in the Sahara. There is even a possibility that the Khartoum Mesolithic of the central Nile Valley might be equally old. Our understanding of the Sudanese Neolithic has greatly increased. For the first time, there appears to be a development from the Khartoum Mesolithic into the Khartoum Neolithic, albeit located outside the Valley. The Khartoum Neolithic is more or less confined to the fourth millennium bc, but did give rise to the later Kadada Neolithic. After Kadada, the focus of settlement seems to have shifted outside the Valley until Meroitic times.
In the protohistoric and historic periods, we have a better understanding of the chronology of the Egyptian Predynastic, although not yet of its development; what models exist will be radically modified if the pyramids are indeed as old as the dates on them now indicate. Finally, far from the Nile Valley in northern Niger, there comes detailed evidence of the development of a precocious metallurgical tradition within a Neolithic context.