Investigating site formation processes in Blombos Cave, South-Africa – a geoarchaeological and micro-contextual approach.
Archaeological material, for example engraved ochre and bone, shell beads, bone tools, and bifacial points recovered from the Middle Stone Age levels (c. 101–70 ka BP) at Blombos Cave (BBC), South Africa, is central to our current understanding of the technological and cultural development of early modern humans in southern Africa during the Late Pleistocene. While these artefacts have attracted much attention for their behavioral implications, the sedimentary context in which they were recovered has not yet been studied in detail. Here we present the results of a micro-contextual approach to the BBC cave deposits, including a geoarchaeological study of the complete sedimentary sequence of the site. We’ve applied and combined a range of methods during both field work (photogrammetry and micromorphological sampling) and laboratory analysis (FTIR, micro-FTIR, micro-GIS, and optical petrology). Our geoarchaeological investigation of BBC enables us for the first time to identify and interpret the major site formation processes responsible for the accumulation of anthropogenic and geogenic deposit within this important cave site. It also enables us to investigate human aspects of the BBC context that hitherto have been overlooked, such as overall site structure, intra-site spatial variability, prehistoric pyrogenic activity, and site modification and maintenance.
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Investigating site formation processes in Blombos Cave, South-Africa – a geoarchaeological and micro-contextual approach.. Magnus Haaland, Christopher Miller, Christopher Henshilwood. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429028)
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min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;
Abstract Id(s): 17212