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The Blind Spot: An Early Later Stone Age perspective on the Agulhas Bank from Knysna Eastern Heads Cave 1, South Africa

Author(s): Naomi Cleghorn ; Thalassa Matthews ; Christopher Shelton

Year: 2015

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The exposure of the wide continental shelf of the Agulhas Bank during the gradual regression of the shoreline from 45,000 years ago, culminating in the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), opened up a vast new area for foragers. Humans with well-established coastal resource exploitation strategies would have naturally shifted their foraging range to the south, following the regressing shoreline. During this period, the South African technological record underwent a critical transition from the prepared core and flake-based technologies of the Late Middle Stone Age (MSA) to the bladelet-rich Later Stone Age (LSA). Unfortunately both the nature of the Agulhas Bank habitat and this transition from MSA to LSA are not well documented in the southern South African archaeological or paleoecological record. Here, we examine new data from KEH-1 at Knysna - the only site with dates throughout this period to face out onto the now drowned Agulhas Bank. We consider the potential relationship between KEH-1 and the overlapping sequences of Nelson Bay Cave and Boomplaas, and discuss the importance of current coastal sites for understanding human population movement and strategies during the Last Glacial.

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The Blind Spot: An Early Later Stone Age perspective on the Agulhas Bank from Knysna Eastern Heads Cave 1, South Africa. Naomi Cleghorn, Thalassa Matthews, Christopher Shelton. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396793)


Geographic Keywords

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