A Middle Stone Age Paleoscape near the Pinnacle Point caves, Vleesbaai, South Africa


MSA caves/rock shelters can provide long sequences of early human residential activities in circumscribed contexts, but most resource procurement activities occurred on the landscape in uncircumscribed space. We have a limited understanding of these resource procurement activities at present, making studies of open-air sites crucial. To alleviate this bias, we report on a series of MSA open-air assemblages that are exposed on ancient land surfaces suggestive of intact paleosols at Vleesbaai and Visbaai. These localities are situated within 10 km of the long cave/rock shelter sequences at Pinnacle Point, South Africa presenting the novel potential to study evidence of MSA behavior in closed and open settings where their proximity to each other approximates the typical hunter-gatherer daily foraging radius documented in ethnography. We present a fabric and technological analysis of MSA stone tool assemblages from three "areas". The fabric analysis suggests that the lithic assemblages have undergone limited post-depositional disturbance. The technological analysis and exploratory comparisons between these open-air assemblages and MSA cave and rock shelter contexts at Pinnacle Point Cave 13B and 9, and Cape St. Blaize Cave suggest a dichotomous pattern of retouched tool discard, and that the quartzite artifacts from Vleesbaai were locally procured and field processed.

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Cite this Record

A Middle Stone Age Paleoscape near the Pinnacle Point caves, Vleesbaai, South Africa. Simen Oestmo, Benjamin Schoville, Jayne Wilkins, Curtis Marean. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396794)

Spatial Coverage

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