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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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Vol. 11 (2) 2013

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T.A. Sumner

A Refitting Study of Late Early to Middle Stone Age Lithic Assemblages from the Site of Kudu Koppie, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 11 (2), 2013, pages 133-153, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10239

Abstract

The examination of lithic material from the late Early Stone Age (ESA) and Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels of Kudu Koppie (KK), Limpopo Province (South Africa) has revealed a range of raw material exploitation patterns and lithic technology. Situated on an escarpment within close proximity to the modern day Limpopo River, and given the high concentration of raw material sources within easy access of the site, KK offered an ideal environment for use by early human groups. This paper reviews the results of a refitting study of material associated with four types of raw material from four out of ten excavated squares at KK. The results demonstrate evidence for a range of technological approaches that are, in some cases, associated with differential use of various lithic materials. In addition, the analysis of the KK refits offers high-resolution insights into the unique qualities of individual technological events including the recycling of previously exploited nodules and, through additional flaking, the co-opting and alteration of one type of tool for the purpose of producing a second form of tool. Moreover, this paper also clearly demonstrates the applicability and value of refitting large Early and Middle Stone Age assemblages, thus offering interpretations concerning early prehistoric technological behaviour that would otherwise be rarely revealed.

Résumé
L'examen du matériel lithique des niveaux du début du Early Stone Age (ESA) et du Middle Stone Age (MSA) provenant de Kudu Koppie (KK), province du Limpopo en Afrique du Sud, a révélé tout une gamme de schémas d'exploitation des matières premières et de technologie lithique. Grâce à sa situation sur un escarpement à proximité de l'actuel fleuve Limpopo et à la forte concentration de sources de matières premières faciles d'accès à proximité du site, KK offrait un environnement idéal pour leur utilisation par les premiers groupes humains. Cet article passe en revue les résultats de l'examen du matériel lithique associé à quatre types de matières premières, provenant de quatre carrés sur les dix fouillés à KK. La principale démarche méthodologique utilisée pour reconstruire et définir les gestes techniques et les séquences technologiques, le remontage, offre des résultats qui montrent un éventail de techniques dont les approches sont, dans certains cas, associées à une utilisation différentielle selon les matériaux lithiques. En outre, l'analyse des remontages offre un aperçu de haute résolution des qualités uniques des événements technologiques individuels, y compris le recyclage des nodules déjà exploités et le retouchage additionnel qui modifie un type d'outil pour produire une deuxième forme d'outil. De plus, cet article démontre clairement que la technique du remontage est applicable sur les grands assemblages Early et Middle Stone Age et très valable car elle permet des interprétations concernant le premier comportement technologique préhistorique qui, autrement, serait rarement révélé.


Keywords: Early Stone Age, lithics, Middle Stone Age, refitting, technological behaviour


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Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
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