Revisiting Grassridge rockshelter in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa: results of the 2014 field season

Author(s): Christopher Ames; Benjamin Collins

Year: 2015


Grassridge rockshelter is located at the base of the Stormberg Mountains approximately 200 km inland in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Previous excavation by Dr. Hermanus Opperman in 1979 focused primarily on the Later Stone Age (LSA) and Holocene occupations at Grassridge, but he also identified an underlying Middle Stone Age (MSA, ~300-30 ka) sequence containing abundant typologically MSA lithic material, well-preserved faunal remains, and charcoal. With particular interest in the MSA deposits, we revisited the rockshelter in the fall of 2014 to relocate the 1979 excavation trench and re-evaluate the stratigraphy using modern geoarchaeological and geochronological techniques. We also opened a new 2 x 1 m excavation adjacent to Opperman’s trench, and conducted preliminary survey in the surrounding landscape to identify additional caves and rockshelters that contain MSA and/or LSA deposits, which is the first step toward building a regional record of Late Pleistocene occupation. In this presentation, we will discuss the results of our 2014 fieldwork, which was the first season of the Grassridge Archaeological and Paleoenvironmental Project (GAPP). Results of preliminary stratigraphic, sedimentological, site formation, and artifact analyses from the renewed excavation will be presented, as well as the paleoenvironmental and archaeological significance of our findings.

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Cite this Record

Revisiting Grassridge rockshelter in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa: results of the 2014 field season. Christopher Ames, Benjamin Collins. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396031)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;