Middle Stone Age and its end in Northwestern Africa - Forschungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts zu den Kulturkontakten Südarabiens zum nördlichen Horn von Afrika
His doctoral work led to the development of an interdisciplinary approach comparing proxies (e.g. paleoanthropological and paleoenvironmental data) to discuss the evolution of human behaviour during the Middle Stone Age (MSA) in North Africa, and its relation to paleoenvironmental changes.
During the last decades, research in Northwestern Africa has greatly highlighted the importance of this region in the study of the origin and dispersal of early Homo sapiens within and out of Africa during the MSA. Among the known sites, the Rabat-Temara coastal region is one of the rare examples in North Africa with well-preserved MSA and LSA occupations in stratified sequences. However, the chronology of this key region is debated.
Mr. Ben Arous reinvestigated the chronology of two caves located on this area (El Mnasra and El Harhoura 2). A multi-dating approach (OSL, ESR/US, radiocarbon and Bayesian approach) was used to date the most intensive MSA human occupations which yielded evidence of marine shells exploitation (food and ornaments purposes) and to date the end of the MSA and the Later Stone Age (LSA). Using various dating methods, his doctoral results also revealed non-negligible discrepancies between the combined US-ESR and the OSL methods.