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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. 13 (1) 2015

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A. Mackay, Z. Jacobs & T.E. Steele

Pleistocene Archaeology and Chronology of Putslaagte 8 (PL8) Rockshelter, Western Cape, South Africa

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 13 (1), 2015, pages 71-98, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10267

Abstract


We report on excavations of a small rock shelter — Putslaagte 8 (PL8) — located on the arid interior fringe of South Africa's Fynbos biome. The shelter preserves a long sequence of Holocene and late Pleistocene occupa­tion dating back beyond 75,000 years BP. This paper presents data on the technological, faunal and chrono­logical sequence. Occupation is markedly pulsed and includes three late Pleistocene Later Stone Age (LSA) units (macrolithic, Robberg and early LSA), as well as several distinct Middle Stone Age (MSA) components from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3–5. Pulsing may reflect the arid and possibly marginal environments in which the shelter is situated, and to that end some elements of the sequence contrast with occupational patterns towards the coast. Viewed in a regional setting PL8 suggests: 1) complementarity of resource movements between the coast and interior in terminal MIS 2; 2) distinctions in material selection, and possibly technology, between the coast and interior in earlier MIS 2; 3) an MSA lasting to at least 40,000 years before present; 4) a weak Howiesons Poort and post-Howiesons Poort in the interior; 5) possibly dis­tinct periods of denticulate manufacture within the MIS 5 MSA; 6) highly localised patterns of material acquisition in the earlier MSA.

 
Résumé

Nous proposons ici un résumé de nos activités de fouille menées à Putslaagte 8 (PL8), petit abri localisé dans la frange intérieure et aride de l'Afrique du Sud, ouvert dans un environnement de type Fynbos. L'abri contient une longue séquence Holocène et Pléistocène supérieur avec de premières occupations antérieures à 75 000 ans BP. Dans cet article, nous présentons les premières données technologiques, fauniques et chronologiques. L'occupation, marquée par plusieurs discontinuités, inclut trois phases Later Stone Age (LSA) de la fin du Pléistocène (macrolithique, Robberg et Early LSA), ainsi que plusieurs phases MSA du MIS 3–5. Les discontinuités dans l'occupation s'expliqueraient par la position marginale de l'abri et de potentielles variations hydrométriques. Dans cette perspective, certains éléments de la séquence contrastent avec les modes d'occupation observés sur les sites côtiers. D'un point de vue régional, PL8 suggère 1) une complémentarité dans les modes de gestion des ressources entre la côte et l'intérieur des terres à la fin du MIS 2 ; 2) des différences dans la sélection des matériaux et, potentiellement dans la technologie, entre la côte et l'intérieur des terres au début du MIS 2 ; 3) un MSA qui se prolonge au moins jusqu'à 40 000 ans BP ; 4) un Howiesons Poort et un post-Howiesons Poort faiblement représenté à l'intérieur ; 5) possiblement plusieurs périodes distinctes associées à la confection de denticulés au cours du MIS 5 ; et 6) des modes d'acquisition des ressources très localisés au cours du Early MSA.


Keywords: fauna, Later Stone Age, lithics, Middle Stone Age, OSL, Southern Africa


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