Uncovering the Late Pleistocene LSA of Mpumalanga Province, South Africa: Early Results from Iron Pig Rock Shelter

In: Journal of African Archaeology
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  • 1 Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, University of Tübingen, Burgsteige 11, D-72070 Tübingen, Germany
  • 2 Kommission für Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI), Bonn, Germany
  • 3 School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

South Africa is one of the best-studied regions in terms of Stone Age research in the last few decades. Considerable progress has been made, especially for the Middle Stone Age (MSA). Recently the late Pleistocene Later Stone Age (LSA) has come back into focus. However, there are still large understudied areas such as northeastern South Africa. Here we present the first data from an archaeological site containing late Pleistocene occupations associated with the Robberg techno-complex in this region. Iron Pig rock shelter provides a well-dated sequence spanning from >16000 cal BP to <9000 cal BP. A lithic analysis of the Robberg occupations of the lowermost layers 5 and 6 provided here implies gradual temporal shifts in technology indicating short-term changing traditions. A comparative review of other LSA sites in the wider region suggests considerable research gaps and the necessity of intensified work in this area.

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