Variation in butchering intensity between glacial and interglacial cycles at Pinnacle Point 5-6

Author(s): Jamie Hodgkins

Year: 2015


The archaeological assemblage and long stratigraphic sequence at the site of Pinnacle Point 5-6 in Western Cape, South Africa affords the opportunity to explore temporal (and possibly environmentally-mediated) changes in human behavioral regimes in the late Pleistocene. Here, examination of butchering intensity is used as a preliminary test of the hypothesis that humans would have intensified the processing of terrestrial prey in times of cooler, dryer climates, when sea levels were low and the coastline and marine resources were further from the Pinnacle Point sites. To do so, faunal remains were sampled from three stratigraphic levels corresponding to different MIS stages: 1) the top portions of level LBSR (81±4 ka); 2) level ALBS (72±3 ka); and 3) the lowest portion (Thandesizwe) from level SADBS (71±3 ka). The LBSR is contemporaneous with the interglacial MIS 5A high sea-level stand, whereas the ALBS and SADBS correspond to the beginning of the MIS 4 glacial period. Although the results of the zooarchaeological analysis are somewhat consistent with intensified butchery in the MIS4 levels based on the frequency of cutmarks on the bone fragments, no such pattern was discerned for percussion marks, suggesting that increased marrow extraction was not a part of the strategy.

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Cite this Record

Variation in butchering intensity between glacial and interglacial cycles at Pinnacle Point 5-6. Jamie Hodgkins. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396807)


Spatial Coverage

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