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A high-resolution ~110,000 year Middle Stone Age lithic technological sequence from Pinnacle Point, South Africa

Author(s): Kathryn L. Ranhorn ; Telmo Pereira ; Jayne Wilkins ; Simen Oestmo ; Kyle S. Brown

Year: 2015

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Summary

The Pinnacle Point sites on the south coast of South Africa preserve a long, high-resolution sequence of human occupation spanning 162-51 ka. The lithic assemblages provide a unique opportunity for examining Pleistocene technological change because they are linked to robust age estimates and multiple proxies for paleoenvironmental change. Recent lithic technological investigations aim to standardize analytical procedures across the complex of Pinnacle Point sites, and maximize comparability to other Middle Stone Age (MSA) sequences. The Pinnacle Point sites show both similarities and differences to other long MSA sequences, and add to what is becoming an increasingly complex picture of MSA technological change and continuity. At Pinnacle Point, major technological shifts occurred at ~90 ka and ~74 ka. Some aspects of technology show surprisingly continuity across these periods of pronounced change. Diverse core reduction strategies were used throughout the sequence with little temporally-vectored patterning. Some technological shifts appear correlated with drastic paleoenvironmental change, but not all. Overall, the Pinnacle Point record is consistent with human patterns of adaptability to new and fluctuating environmental conditions, as well as stylistic choice independent of environment, and in those respects is similar in nature to more recent records of hunter-gatherer adaptation in South Africa.

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A high-resolution ~110,000 year Middle Stone Age lithic technological sequence from Pinnacle Point, South Africa. Jayne Wilkins, Kyle S. Brown, Simen Oestmo, Telmo Pereira, Kathryn L. Ranhorn. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396803)


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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