The organisation of hornfels blade production during the Early Later Stone Age (ELSA) in the eastern Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa
The Early Later Stone Age (ELSA) represents the onset of sustained microlithic technology in southern Africa. The ELSA is, however, poorly defined with respect to its technological characteristics and organisation. In this paper we identify key features of the ELSA at Putslaagte 8 (PL8) rockshelter in the south-west of southern Africa, dating ~25-22 ka. The assemblage features relatively expedient production of hornfels blades using natural ridges of cobbles from the nearby Doring River. A second, distinct component is the reduction of quartz-bipolar cores to very small sizes. We then examine evidence from the open-air site Uitspankraal 7 (UPK7) on the Doring River, which contains a similar hornfels blade production system to PL8. Differences between the PL8 and UPK7 assemblages suggest an organisational system involving the staged production, use and discard of artefacts in different landscape settings. Hornfels blades appear to have been produced at the river and transported into the surrounding landscape, with limited transportation of cores. Quartz-bipolar systems, in contrast, appear to have involved local acquisition, reduction and discard of non-riverine rocks. Intriguingly little evidence of quartz-bipolar was found in the open-air sample, raising the possibility that different ELSA technological components were organised in distinct patterns at the landscape-scale.
Cite this Record
The organisation of hornfels blade production during the Early Later Stone Age (ELSA) in the eastern Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa. Marika Low, Alex Mackay. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429034)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;
Abstract Id(s): 15243