KLASIES RIVER AS A 120,000-YEAR-OLD ARCHIVE OF HUMAN BEHAVIOUR IN SOUTH AFRICA
Marlize Lombard and Anders Högberg
Tue, 12/11/2019 - 18:30
SA Astronomical Observatory auditorium
Today, Still Bay points are best known from Blombos Cave but there is no detailed study of how such point production varied through time at the site. What is more, based on a handful of optically stimulated luminescence age estimates, it has been argued that the Still Bay represents a sudden, short-lived technological innovation dating to about 72-71 kya. When we looked at the points from Lyn Wadley’s deep sounding at Sibudu Cave dating from the early pre-Still Bay at more than 77 kya through to the final Still Bay/early Howieson’s Poort dating to 64.7 ± 2.3 kya, we found evidence of Still Bay point production for several millennia at the site. We were able to record subtle changes through time, but found no evidence of a technological break at 72-71 kya. We did, however, uncover a potential point-production hiatus at the site and we hypothesise about explanations for this phenomenon.
We further contextualise the Sibudu Still Bay assemblages within southern Africa by directly comparing them with those of Hollow Rock Shelter (Western Cape), Umhlatuzana (KwaZulu-Natal) and Apollo 11 (Namibia), before looking at the full suite of dated Still Bay sites through a socio-technical lens. By doing so, we are able to hypothesise about the origins, spread and demise of Still Bay point making through time and across space.