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Cave Life Histories of non-anthropogenic Sediments helps us "raise the bar" in our understandings of anthropogenic Sediments

Author(s): Panagiotis Karkanas ; Curtis Marean

Year: 2015

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A series of sea caves and rock shelters with strong anthropogenic contributions are found at Pinnacle Point (PP) near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Two of these (PP13B and PP5-6) have been the target of extensive archaeological excavation and both document anthropogenic and geogenic contributions waxing and waning over time. A variety of caves at PP do not bear anthropogenic remains, such as Staircase Cave and Crevice Cave. A third, PP29, is filled with sediment but there are no archaeological remains visible on the surface and it has not been excavated. However, all three (as do most caves at PP) have extensive remnant and extensive sediments that provide clues to the "life history" of caves in the region. These caves offer the opportunity to understand the purely geogenic signature of the locality under the same geologic and sedimentary conditions as those caves with anthropogenic contributions, and thus offer a geogenic baseline for the PP locality. Archaeologists normally focus only on sites with strong anthropogenic signals, but by building cave life histories we enrich our knowledge of the baseline geogenic signal and "raise the bar" on our contextual knowledge.

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Cave Life Histories of non-anthropogenic Sediments helps us "raise the bar" in our understandings of anthropogenic Sediments. Curtis Marean, Panagiotis Karkanas. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396267)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America