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Temporal perspectives on Still Bay point production at Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, in the context of southern Africa
Univ Johannesburg, South Africa.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. Univ Johannesburg, South Africa. (Arkeologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8747-4131
Univ Witwatersrand, South Africa.
2019 (English)In: Azania, ISSN 0067-270X, E-ISSN 1945-5534, Vol. 54, no 2, p. 141-176Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Based on optically stimulated luminescence age estimates it has been argued that the Still Bay represents a sudden, short-lived technological innovation dating to about 72–71 kya. Yet, few sites have the stratigraphic integrity and Still Bay point assemblage size to test this assumption. The Wadley deep sounding of Sibudu Cave provides such an opportunity. Here we use fine-grained analyses consisting of technological attributes and morphometric data to explore the retouched point assemblages of Sibudu over a period of more than ten thousand years spanning the Still Bay. Although we found subtle changes through time, we found no evidence of a technological break in retouched point-production strategies since the Wadley early pre-Still Bay at more than 77 kya through to the final Still Bay/early Howiesons Poort dating to 64.7 ± 2.3 kya. We did, however, uncover a potential point-production hiatus at the site and we present testable hypotheses for this phenomenon. We further contextualise the Sibudu assemblages within southern Africa by directly comparing them with those of Hollow Rock Shelter, Umhlatuzana and Apollo 11. Although our results demonstrate both variation and similarities between the different Still Bay assemblages, we could not replicate a previous suggestion regarding technical disconnection between a north-east/south-west axis on the greater landscape.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis, 2019. Vol. 54, no 2, p. 141-176
Keywords [en]
Middle Stone Age, southern Africa, Still Bay Points, Sibudu Cave, lithic analysis
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Humanities, Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-85407DOI: 10.1080/0067270X.2019.1619280ISI: 000474621200001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85067643998OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-85407DiVA, id: diva2:1325325
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 71- 2014-2100Available from: 2019-06-15 Created: 2019-06-15 Last updated: 2019-08-29

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