and the SB have received a large share of the attention in the last few years mostly due to what was thought to be a unique lithictechnology (i.e. the co-presence of blade/geometrics and bifacial foliates, as well as the presence of heat treatment, ornaments, use of ochre, bone tools, and use of
and implications for the final MSA of eastern South Africa . Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 21 , 733 - 757 .
Bader , G.D. , Will , M. & Conard , N.J. 2015 . The lithictechnology of Holley Shelter, KwaZulu- Natal and its place within the MSA of southern Africa
, these assemblages are referred to as the Robberg technocomplex and represent the earliest well-defined stone artefact making tradition of the Later Stone Age ( LSA ) in southern Africa (Lombard et al. 2012). Discussions of the Robberg often highlight the high degree of coherence in lithictechnology
. 1992 . Effect of heat treatment on siliceous rocks used in prehistoric lithictechnology . Journal of Archaeological Science 19 , 601 - 614 .
Ehrenreich , S. & Fuchs , G. 2012 . Archaeological investigation of the “Goulet” site no. 338 in the Wadi Tifariti, West Sahara . http
Etemba 14 was excavated in two seasons (1968 and 1984) and yielded a stratigraphic sequence with Later Stone Age (LSA) and Middle Stone Age (MSA) material. Stone Age (LSA) and Middle Stone Age (MSA) material. Human remains discovered among material of the first excavation had been assigned to the MSA complex. The diachronic analysis of material from the second excavation showed that 1) the transition correlates with the sedimentological change from Unit IV to V, contrary to previous interpretations; 2) the interface most probably reflects a considerable time span; 3) the human cranial fragments belong to the LSA complex; 4) an undisturbed MSA layer was identified at the base of the second excavation.
A technological analysis of the MSA assemblage showed that discoidal reduction was the prevailing concept, independent of the raw material used. Cores made out of quartz show additionally a simple, unipolar reduction. Pointed flakes (pseudo-Levallois points) are frequent; blades are irregular and very scarce. The reconstruction of the chaîne opératoire allows some suggestions about the activities that took place on site. Early MSA assemblages from the south-western part of Namibia show similar technological features. Whether the discoid technology used at Etemba 14 is a chronological marker or a local expression of functional or economic needs requires further research.
During a study of the Still Bay industry at Sibudu (Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa), we observed ochre deposits on the platforms of flakes associated with the production of bifacial points, which are highly characteristic of this industry. We discuss several hypotheses to explain this phenomenon, implicating either an intentional or unintentional anthropogenic origin, or a natural origin. These considerations are based on the characteristics of the ochre deposits (appearance, position and distribution), the technical features of the lithic artifacts on which they are observed and the sedimentary and archaeological context in which they were found. All of these elements converge to demonstrate that the ochre was indirectly deposited on the flake platforms through the use of iron oxide nodules as knapping tools for the manufacture of bifacial points. The significance of this behavior is discussed in light of increasingly frequent discoveries of ochre or other mineral materials with equivalent properties in the context of the MSA in South Africa.
The analysis of stone artefacts from the open-air localities of Geelbek and Anyskop in the Western Cape of South Africa offers new insight into the behaviour of Middle Stone Age hunters and gatherers. We examined five deflation bays in these mobile dune systems which, in contrast to caves or rockshelters, display large-scale spatial patterning with regard to the distribution of lithic artefacts and faunal remains. The definition of raw material units enabled us to reconstruct the patterns of production, use, and discard of stone artefacts. The results reveal that hunters and gatherers, such as those who produced Howiesons Poort stone artefacts, employed diverse planning strategies in terms of raw material exploitation, transport technology and site use. Although the faunal remains are not yet fully evaluated, the presence of stone points and segments suggests that hunting played an important role among the activities documented at Geelbek and Anyskop. The low number and heterogeneity of the stone artefacts suggest that people of the Middle Stone Age were highly mobile.
In this paper, the results of the test excavations in two rock shelters in the Central Ethiopian escarpment near the Sudanese border are presented. A continuous sequence of quartz lithic industry, from the lowest levels of K’aaba (with an archaic MSA-like industry of side-scrapers, Levallois- discoid cores and unifacial points) to the upper levels of Bel K’urk’umu (with a LSA industry, characterised by elongated flakes and end-scrapers, that still displays many archaic features such as centripetal flakes and cores) may be inferred. The escarpment’s mountainous and forested areas may have acted as a refuge zone from the end of the Pleistocene, when hyper-arid conditions deterred human occupation of the Sudanese plains nearby, and may also have been a cause for the cultural archaism of the late MSA groups, a case similar to others recorded in the African continent (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nile Valley). The arrival of Sudanese pottery in the mid-Holocene period may be explained by the onset of arid conditions that drove “aqualithic” groups and early herders towards more humid areas. The conservative character of the late prehistoric cultural sequence derived from both sites is consistent with the resilient traditional nature of the Nilo- Saharan groups that currently settle the Ethio-Sudanese borderlands.
Recent re-excavation of Mumba Rockshelter unearthed an unbiased lithic sample from Bed V. Technological analysis has permitted a reinterpretation of the so-called Mumba Industry, a transitional industry between Middle and Later Stone Ages originally defined by Mehlman (1989). Our data confirm Mehlman’s observation that the “evolutionary” markers in Mumba Bed V are basically typological. However, our study differs from his in that we classify all of Bed V as LSA based on the combined analyses of typology and technology in our excavated assemblage. From a technological perspective, no changes have been observed throughout the sequence, and continuity is the main technological characteristic of the series. The only transitional marker from Lower through Upper Bed V is the appearance of the geometric crescent in the latter, taking into account that microliths exist throughout the sequence. This evidence casts some doubts on previous interpretations and underscores the need to recover a larger sample using modern excavation techniques. It also stresses the need to define the MSA/LSA transition in better terms, combining techno-typological criteria.
resources, and the mobility systems used by past people are influenced by decisions of raw material acquisition and transport (Bamforth 1991; Nelson 1991; Kuhn 1992, 1995; Andrefsky 1994), making lithictechnology a useful tool in understanding human landscape use and decision making.
The Doring River