This paper addresses the question of whether archaeological data-especially data from the Middle Palaeolithic-are relevant to current discussion on the origin and dispersal of modern humans. The structure of the Middle Paleolithic record of the Lower Nile Valley and adjacent deserts, a key region in the Out-of-Africa model, is examined. On the basis of the present database two archaeological complexes can be established: the Nubian complex and the Lower Nile Valley complex. In the Nubian complex, which appears in the Lower Nile Valley during the late Middle Pleistocene and coexists with a Lower Nile Valley complex issuing from the local Acheulean, hunting was a major subsistence strategy. From the last interglacial on the Nubian complex is found beyond the valley, whereas the Lower Nile Valley complex remains restricted to its riverine environment. Here, a technological transition to an Upper Palaeolithic type of production is attested as a punctuated event around 40,000 years ago at the latest. The appearance of the Nubian complex in the northern reaches of the Nile Valley would seem to correspond to the Out-of-Africa model of dispersal. However, the general reconstruction of behavioural repertoires from archaeological evidence does not satisfactorily correspond to the patterning expected according to either that model or its alternative. It is concluded that the Middle Palaeolithic record of Northeast Africa is the product of different populations with modern behavioural capacities. Their particular organisations of the subsistence domain and even their migrations are revealed in archaeological patterns of variability and change, but the record holds no evidence of anatomical constraints on this capacity for modern behaviour or of the social mechanisms by which it might have been transmitted.