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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Journal contents:


Vol. 8 (2) 2010

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R. Vogelsang, J. Richter, Z. Jacobs, B. Eichhorn, V. Linseele & R.G. Roberts

New Excavations of Middle Stone Age Deposits at Apollo 11 Rockshelter, Namibia: Stratigraphy, Archaeology, Chronology and Past Environments

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 8 (2), 2010, pages 185-218, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10170

 

Abstract

This paper presents new information obtained from a recent excavation and reassessment of the stratigraphy, chronology, archaeological assemblages and environmen­tal context of the Apollo 11 rockshelter, which contains the longest late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological sequence in Namibia. The Middle Stone Age (MSA) indus­tries represented at the site include an early MSA, Still Bay, Howieson's Poort and late MSA. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of individual quartz grains yielded numerical ages for the Still Bay and Howieson's Poort, and indicated the presence of a post-Howieson's Poort phase. OSL dating also verified conventional and accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon ages for a further two later MSA phases. The timing of the transition from the MSA to the early Later Stone Age was also inves­tigated. Improved resolution of the excavation and a more detailed stratigraphy revealed the presence of near-sterile cultural layers, which in some cases assisted in subdivid­ing the MSA cultural phases. Such information, in combi­nation with the new radiocarbon and OSL chronologies, helps address questions about the duration and continuity of MSA occupation at the site. Analyses of the faunal and archaeobotanical remains show some differences between the occupation phases at the site that may be associated with changing environmental conditions.

Résumé

Cet article présente de nouvelles informations issues d´une fouille récente et d´une relecture de la stratigraphie, de la chronologie, des assemblages archéologiques et du contexte environnemental de l´abri sous roche d´Apollo 11. Ce dernier contient la plus longue séquence stratigraphique du Pleistocène supérieur et de l'Holocène en Namibie. Le site a fourni diverses industries du Middle Stone Age (MSA), notamment le MSA inférieur, le Still Bay, le Howieson´s Poort et le MSA supérieur. La datation de grains individuels de quartz, effectuée par luminiscence optique (OSL), a donné les âges absolus des cultures Still Bay et Howieson´s Poort et a aussi montré la présence d´une phase post-Howieson´s Poort. La datation par OSL a également confirmé l'âge attribué à deux phases MSA tardives, anciennement datées par la méthode du radiocarbone. Les étapes de la transition entre le MSA et le Later Stone Age inférieur ont aussi été étudiées d'un point de vue chronologique. La précision apportée à la séquence stratigraphique au cours des nouvelles fouilles a permis d´observer des couches presque stériles, qui permettent parfois de mieux séparer les phases culturelles du MSA. De telles observations, accompagnées de la nouvelle séquence chronologique radiocarbone et OSL, contribuent à la discussion sur la durée et la continuité des occupations du MSA dans le site. Les analyses fauniques et archéobotaniques indiquent quelques différences entre les phases d´occupation humaine du site, peut-être associées aux changements d´environnement naturel.




Keywords: Apollo 11, archaeofauna, early LSA, Howieson's Poort, Later Stone Age, LSA, Middle Stone Age, MSA, OSL dating, palaeoenvironment, Still Bay


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Sonja Magnavita, Peter Breunig, Sam Nixon

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Jonathan R. Walz, USA

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Graham Connah, Australia
Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
Timothy Insoll, UK
Tom Huffman, South Africa
Eric Huysecom, Switzerland
David Killick, USA
Savino di Lernia, Italy
Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Belgium
Scott MacEachern, USA
David Mattingly, UK
Susan Keech McIntosh, USA
David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
Peter Robertshaw, USA
Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

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Gaby Franke, Germany
Annabelle Gallin, France
Richard Byer, Germany

Editorial Assistance:
Anna Rybar, Germany
Carlos Magnavita, Germany


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