Ostrich Eggshell taphonomy and distribution at Knysna Eastern Heads Cave 1


Analysis of ostrich eggshell (OES) fragment distribution at Knysna Eastern Heads Cave 1 (KEH-1) revealed taphonomic patterns. The variation of OES features and its distribution indicates that the OES was being used and processed differently in temporal and spatial context. KEH-1, a cave on the southern coast of South Africa, was inhabited by early modern humans throughout the Middle and Late Stone Age. Hearth features are prevalent throughout the sequence, providing evidence of occupational intensity and material processing. The abundance of OES found at KEH-1 allows a comprehensive analysis of OES modification and distribution. OES found at KEH-1 was coded according to color, texture, size, and whether or not it had been burned. The observed features of the OES, along with the stratigraphic context, was then used to interpret distribution patterns, which indicate that human exploitation of OES changed throughout the late Pleistocene. Analysis of the distribution indicates a correlation between the variation of features with hearths and stratigraphic aggregates. Early humans at KEH-1 left distinct taphonomic indicators on the fragments of OES left behind after processing. Further experimental taphonomic research may allow more detailed conclusions about the variation in human exploitation of ostrich eggs in South African prehistory.

Cite this Record

Ostrich Eggshell taphonomy and distribution at Knysna Eastern Heads Cave 1. Rachel Sender, Daniel Peart, Hannah Keller, Naomi Cleghorn. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429750)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16232