Limits...
Examining the Causes and Consequences of Short-Term Behavioral Change during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu, South Africa.

Conard NJ, Will M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We present the results from a technological analysis of 11 stratified lithic assemblages which overlie the Howiesons Poort deposits and all date to ~58 ka.The lithic assemblages can be grouped into three cohesive units which differ from each other in the procurement of raw materials, the frequency in the methods of core reduction, the kind of blanks produced, and in the nature of tools the inhabitants of Sibudu made and used.We also identify a clear pattern of development toward what we have previously defined as the Sibudan cultural taxonomic unit.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, University of Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, 72070, Tübingen, Germany; Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoecology, University of Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, 72070, Tübingen, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Sibudu in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) with its rich and high-resolution archaeological sequence provides an ideal case study to examine the causes and consequences of short-term variation in the behavior of modern humans during the Middle Stone Age (MSA). We present the results from a technological analysis of 11 stratified lithic assemblages which overlie the Howiesons Poort deposits and all date to ~58 ka. Based on technological and typological attributes, we conducted inter-assemblage comparisons to characterize the nature and tempo of cultural change in successive occupations. This work identified considerable short-term variation with clear temporal trends throughout the sequence, demonstrating that knappers at Sibudu varied their technology over short time spans. The lithic assemblages can be grouped into three cohesive units which differ from each other in the procurement of raw materials, the frequency in the methods of core reduction, the kind of blanks produced, and in the nature of tools the inhabitants of Sibudu made and used. These groups of assemblages represent different strategies of lithic technology, which build upon each other in a gradual, cumulative manner. We also identify a clear pattern of development toward what we have previously defined as the Sibudan cultural taxonomic unit. Contextualizing these results on larger geographical scales shows that the later phase of the MSA during MIS 3 in KwaZulu-Natal and southern Africa is one of dynamic cultural change rather than of stasis or stagnation as has at times been claimed. In combination with environmental, subsistence and contextual information, our high-resolution data on lithic technology suggest that short-term behavioral variability at Sibudu can be best explained by changes in technological organization and socio-economic dynamics instead of environmental forcing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Stratigraphic section of the Eastern Excavation (combined north and east profile) of Sibudu.Colored layers, beginning with BSP, were excavated by the Tübingen team between 2011–2014 and are located in the upper part of the sequence dated to ~58 ka.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4476744&req=5

pone.0130001.g002: Stratigraphic section of the Eastern Excavation (combined north and east profile) of Sibudu.Colored layers, beginning with BSP, were excavated by the Tübingen team between 2011–2014 and are located in the upper part of the sequence dated to ~58 ka.

Mentions: This study includes all lithic finds from layers WOG1-BSP from the 2011–2014 Tübingen excavations, which reflects an area of excavation of 6 m2 and a volume of excavation of about 3 m3 (Fig 2). We analyzed a total of eleven assemblages, with one layer (SS) being excluded due to the low number of artifacts (n<100). Due to the high density of lithic artefacts, we used 30 mm as the cut off for single finds. The eleven assemblages include a total of 146,301 stone artifacts, with 7,799 pieces >30 mm and 138,502 small debitage products <30 mm (Table 1). The large number of successive layers and lithic finds allows for an excellent assessment of diachronic variability throughout this part of the sequence. The very high ratio of small debitage to single finds (95:5%) is indicative of intense stone knapping with little post-depositional disturbance or sorting based on size (S1 Fig).


Examining the Causes and Consequences of Short-Term Behavioral Change during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu, South Africa.

Conard NJ, Will M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Stratigraphic section of the Eastern Excavation (combined north and east profile) of Sibudu.Colored layers, beginning with BSP, were excavated by the Tübingen team between 2011–2014 and are located in the upper part of the sequence dated to ~58 ka.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4476744&req=5

pone.0130001.g002: Stratigraphic section of the Eastern Excavation (combined north and east profile) of Sibudu.Colored layers, beginning with BSP, were excavated by the Tübingen team between 2011–2014 and are located in the upper part of the sequence dated to ~58 ka.
Mentions: This study includes all lithic finds from layers WOG1-BSP from the 2011–2014 Tübingen excavations, which reflects an area of excavation of 6 m2 and a volume of excavation of about 3 m3 (Fig 2). We analyzed a total of eleven assemblages, with one layer (SS) being excluded due to the low number of artifacts (n<100). Due to the high density of lithic artefacts, we used 30 mm as the cut off for single finds. The eleven assemblages include a total of 146,301 stone artifacts, with 7,799 pieces >30 mm and 138,502 small debitage products <30 mm (Table 1). The large number of successive layers and lithic finds allows for an excellent assessment of diachronic variability throughout this part of the sequence. The very high ratio of small debitage to single finds (95:5%) is indicative of intense stone knapping with little post-depositional disturbance or sorting based on size (S1 Fig).

Bottom Line: We present the results from a technological analysis of 11 stratified lithic assemblages which overlie the Howiesons Poort deposits and all date to ~58 ka.The lithic assemblages can be grouped into three cohesive units which differ from each other in the procurement of raw materials, the frequency in the methods of core reduction, the kind of blanks produced, and in the nature of tools the inhabitants of Sibudu made and used.We also identify a clear pattern of development toward what we have previously defined as the Sibudan cultural taxonomic unit.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, University of Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, 72070, Tübingen, Germany; Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoecology, University of Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, 72070, Tübingen, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Sibudu in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) with its rich and high-resolution archaeological sequence provides an ideal case study to examine the causes and consequences of short-term variation in the behavior of modern humans during the Middle Stone Age (MSA). We present the results from a technological analysis of 11 stratified lithic assemblages which overlie the Howiesons Poort deposits and all date to ~58 ka. Based on technological and typological attributes, we conducted inter-assemblage comparisons to characterize the nature and tempo of cultural change in successive occupations. This work identified considerable short-term variation with clear temporal trends throughout the sequence, demonstrating that knappers at Sibudu varied their technology over short time spans. The lithic assemblages can be grouped into three cohesive units which differ from each other in the procurement of raw materials, the frequency in the methods of core reduction, the kind of blanks produced, and in the nature of tools the inhabitants of Sibudu made and used. These groups of assemblages represent different strategies of lithic technology, which build upon each other in a gradual, cumulative manner. We also identify a clear pattern of development toward what we have previously defined as the Sibudan cultural taxonomic unit. Contextualizing these results on larger geographical scales shows that the later phase of the MSA during MIS 3 in KwaZulu-Natal and southern Africa is one of dynamic cultural change rather than of stasis or stagnation as has at times been claimed. In combination with environmental, subsistence and contextual information, our high-resolution data on lithic technology suggest that short-term behavioral variability at Sibudu can be best explained by changes in technological organization and socio-economic dynamics instead of environmental forcing.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus