SEMINAR: Archaeology Seminar Series
|Archaeology Seminar Series : Geoarchaelogical investigation of prehistoric site use, occupation intensity and settlement patterns in Blombos Cave, South Africa
The archaeological assemblage recovered from the Middle Stone Age
(MSA) levels in Blombos Cave (BBC, c. 101–70 ka BP), 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. In this paper, we demonstrate that the behavioural
changes observed in the MSA record of BBC also correlate with
significant shifts in physical site-use and human occupation intensity.
Through a site-wide geoarchaeological and faunal taphonomic
investigation of three discrete phases of MSA occupation deposits, we
identify distinct human campsite activities and examine their spatial
distribution throughout the MSA sequence. Considering the sedimentbased
observations presented, we argue that people during the earliest
MSA phases occupied Blombos Cave more continuously but less
frequent. This occupation pattern is markedly different from what we
see in the later MSA phases (e.g. M1), during which hunter-gatherer
groups appear to have visited and revisited the cave more regularly,and for shorter periods each time. We suggest that the variation of MSA occupation intensity in BBC, which coincides with shifts in local climate,vegetation and sea-levels, can best be explained by changes in local
site function and hunter-gatherer mobility and subsistence strategies.
We also propose that the MSA site-use patterns observed locally in BBC
may be indicative of larger shifts in the regional settlement patterns,and we hypothesize that these could have affected the nature and frequency of social interaction within prehistoric populations living in the Southern Cape during MIS 5b-4 (94 – 72 ka).
Law Lecture Room 1, Room G.31
Ana Paula Motta
Thu, 21 Mar 2019 16:00
Thu, 21 Mar 2019 17:00
Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Thu, 14 Mar 2019 14:12
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