Lithic Miniaturization and Behavioral Variability in Southernmost Africa 18–11 kcal. BP

Author(s): Justin Pargeter; Marika Low

Year: 2018


Lithic miniaturization, the systematic production of small stone artifacts by controlled fracture, was a pervasive feature of late Pleistocene lithic technology. Smaller toolkits enabled humans to exploit raw materials more efficiently, to produce composite tools more effectively, to reduce a wider range of rocks, and to increase mobility by lightening toolkits. These benefits allowed humans to occupy a wider range of ecological niches. Archaeologists working in southern Africa have long acknowledged lithic miniaturization’s importance in framing the region’s late Pleistocene prehistory. However, to date archaeologists have conducted very little inter-region comparative research on the topic. This paper presents the results of a comparative lithic technological study between Klipfonteinrand and Sehonghong- two large rock-shelters located in southern Africa’s winter and summer rainfall zones respectively. Evidence from these sites shows not only a comparative technological approach’s effectiveness but also that lithic miniaturization expresses itself differently in different regions. Patterned variability of this nature fits a model of strategic behavioral variability. To gauge variability in prehistoric lithic miniaturization, archaeologists need to adopt more contextual and comparative methods of stone tool analysis.

Cite this Record

Lithic Miniaturization and Behavioral Variability in Southernmost Africa 18–11 kcal. BP. Justin Pargeter, Marika Low. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443414)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.721; min lat: -35.174 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 27.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21004