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The Still Bay and Howiesons Poort at Sibudu and Blombos: Understanding Middle Stone Age Technologies.

Soriano S, Villa P, Delagnes A, Degano I, Pollarolo L, Lucejko JJ, Henshilwood C, Wadley L - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We present the results of a systematic technological and typological analysis of the Still Bay assemblages from Sibudu and Blombos.The gradual evolution of debitage techniques within the Howiesons Poort sequence with a progressive abandonment of the HP technological style argues against the saltational model for its disappearance while the technological differences between the Sibudu and Blombos Still Bay artifacts considerably weaken an interpretation of similarities between the assemblages and their grouping into the same cultural unit.Limited sampling of a fragmented record may explain why simple models of cultural evolution do not seem to apply to a complex reality.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: ArScAn, AnTET, Université Paris Ouest, CNRS, 92023 Nanterre, France.

ABSTRACT
The classification of archaeological assemblages in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa in terms of diversity and temporal continuity has significant implications with respect to recent cultural evolutionary models which propose either gradual accumulation or discontinuous, episodic processes for the emergence and diffusion of cultural traits. We present the results of a systematic technological and typological analysis of the Still Bay assemblages from Sibudu and Blombos. A similar approach is used in the analysis of the Howiesons Poort (HP) assemblages from Sibudu seen in comparison with broadly contemporaneous assemblages from Rose Cottage and Klasies River Cave 1A. Using our own and published data from other sites we report on the diversity between stone artifact assemblages and discuss to what extent they can be grouped into homogeneous lithic sets. The gradual evolution of debitage techniques within the Howiesons Poort sequence with a progressive abandonment of the HP technological style argues against the saltational model for its disappearance while the technological differences between the Sibudu and Blombos Still Bay artifacts considerably weaken an interpretation of similarities between the assemblages and their grouping into the same cultural unit. Limited sampling of a fragmented record may explain why simple models of cultural evolution do not seem to apply to a complex reality.

No MeSH data available.


Sibudu, Still Bay: Bifacial pieces and fragments of bifacial pieces.1, 4–7, 9, 12–17: dolerite; 2, 3: hornfels; 8, 10, 11: quartzite. Layer, square, cat. number: (1) RGS, B6a, PV2; (2) RGS, B6a, 11; (3) RGS, B6a, 28; (4) RGS, C5d, L22; (5) RGS, C5a, L20; (6) RGS2, B5d, 16; (7) RGS2, B4b, L10; (8) PGS, C6c, P5; (9) RGS, B4a, L6; (10) RGS, B6a, 20; (11) RGS, B5c, 23; (12) RGS, B6a, 29; (13) RGS, B5b, 34; (14) HinRGS, B5a, 21; (15) RGS, B5c, 17; (16) RGS, C5c, L12; (17) PGS, C6c, P1.
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pone.0131127.g004: Sibudu, Still Bay: Bifacial pieces and fragments of bifacial pieces.1, 4–7, 9, 12–17: dolerite; 2, 3: hornfels; 8, 10, 11: quartzite. Layer, square, cat. number: (1) RGS, B6a, PV2; (2) RGS, B6a, 11; (3) RGS, B6a, 28; (4) RGS, C5d, L22; (5) RGS, C5a, L20; (6) RGS2, B5d, 16; (7) RGS2, B4b, L10; (8) PGS, C6c, P5; (9) RGS, B4a, L6; (10) RGS, B6a, 20; (11) RGS, B5c, 23; (12) RGS, B6a, 29; (13) RGS, B5b, 34; (14) HinRGS, B5a, 21; (15) RGS, B5c, 17; (16) RGS, C5c, L12; (17) PGS, C6c, P1.

Mentions: The SB assemblage is overwhelmingly dominated by shaping byproducts. Bifacially shaped implements, mainly points, were clearly the primary objectives of lithic production (Fig 4)(Figs A-D in S1 File). Very few cores (actually undiagnostic cores or core fragments) were recovered in the SB. Some flakes (N = 4) and blades/elongated flakes (N = 41)(Table A in S2 File) that could not result from bifacial shaping were also identified (Fig E in S1 File). These blades and elongated flakes are rather short, highly variable in shape, mostly with large platforms. They were produced on single platform cores, sometimes partially prepared with cresting. Platforms were infrequently prepared: faceting occurs in 18.5% of the cases (5/27) and internal hard hammer percussion was used. In contrast HP blades have a high proportion of trimming of the core edge (51%) and were made by marginal percussion. The independent production of flakes and blades in the Sibudu Still Bay is minor and has nothing in common with HP highly standardized blade production [20,21]. Thus the following sections will focus on bifacial implements.


The Still Bay and Howiesons Poort at Sibudu and Blombos: Understanding Middle Stone Age Technologies.

Soriano S, Villa P, Delagnes A, Degano I, Pollarolo L, Lucejko JJ, Henshilwood C, Wadley L - PLoS ONE (2015)

Sibudu, Still Bay: Bifacial pieces and fragments of bifacial pieces.1, 4–7, 9, 12–17: dolerite; 2, 3: hornfels; 8, 10, 11: quartzite. Layer, square, cat. number: (1) RGS, B6a, PV2; (2) RGS, B6a, 11; (3) RGS, B6a, 28; (4) RGS, C5d, L22; (5) RGS, C5a, L20; (6) RGS2, B5d, 16; (7) RGS2, B4b, L10; (8) PGS, C6c, P5; (9) RGS, B4a, L6; (10) RGS, B6a, 20; (11) RGS, B5c, 23; (12) RGS, B6a, 29; (13) RGS, B5b, 34; (14) HinRGS, B5a, 21; (15) RGS, B5c, 17; (16) RGS, C5c, L12; (17) PGS, C6c, P1.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4498762&req=5

pone.0131127.g004: Sibudu, Still Bay: Bifacial pieces and fragments of bifacial pieces.1, 4–7, 9, 12–17: dolerite; 2, 3: hornfels; 8, 10, 11: quartzite. Layer, square, cat. number: (1) RGS, B6a, PV2; (2) RGS, B6a, 11; (3) RGS, B6a, 28; (4) RGS, C5d, L22; (5) RGS, C5a, L20; (6) RGS2, B5d, 16; (7) RGS2, B4b, L10; (8) PGS, C6c, P5; (9) RGS, B4a, L6; (10) RGS, B6a, 20; (11) RGS, B5c, 23; (12) RGS, B6a, 29; (13) RGS, B5b, 34; (14) HinRGS, B5a, 21; (15) RGS, B5c, 17; (16) RGS, C5c, L12; (17) PGS, C6c, P1.
Mentions: The SB assemblage is overwhelmingly dominated by shaping byproducts. Bifacially shaped implements, mainly points, were clearly the primary objectives of lithic production (Fig 4)(Figs A-D in S1 File). Very few cores (actually undiagnostic cores or core fragments) were recovered in the SB. Some flakes (N = 4) and blades/elongated flakes (N = 41)(Table A in S2 File) that could not result from bifacial shaping were also identified (Fig E in S1 File). These blades and elongated flakes are rather short, highly variable in shape, mostly with large platforms. They were produced on single platform cores, sometimes partially prepared with cresting. Platforms were infrequently prepared: faceting occurs in 18.5% of the cases (5/27) and internal hard hammer percussion was used. In contrast HP blades have a high proportion of trimming of the core edge (51%) and were made by marginal percussion. The independent production of flakes and blades in the Sibudu Still Bay is minor and has nothing in common with HP highly standardized blade production [20,21]. Thus the following sections will focus on bifacial implements.

Bottom Line: We present the results of a systematic technological and typological analysis of the Still Bay assemblages from Sibudu and Blombos.The gradual evolution of debitage techniques within the Howiesons Poort sequence with a progressive abandonment of the HP technological style argues against the saltational model for its disappearance while the technological differences between the Sibudu and Blombos Still Bay artifacts considerably weaken an interpretation of similarities between the assemblages and their grouping into the same cultural unit.Limited sampling of a fragmented record may explain why simple models of cultural evolution do not seem to apply to a complex reality.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: ArScAn, AnTET, Université Paris Ouest, CNRS, 92023 Nanterre, France.

ABSTRACT
The classification of archaeological assemblages in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa in terms of diversity and temporal continuity has significant implications with respect to recent cultural evolutionary models which propose either gradual accumulation or discontinuous, episodic processes for the emergence and diffusion of cultural traits. We present the results of a systematic technological and typological analysis of the Still Bay assemblages from Sibudu and Blombos. A similar approach is used in the analysis of the Howiesons Poort (HP) assemblages from Sibudu seen in comparison with broadly contemporaneous assemblages from Rose Cottage and Klasies River Cave 1A. Using our own and published data from other sites we report on the diversity between stone artifact assemblages and discuss to what extent they can be grouped into homogeneous lithic sets. The gradual evolution of debitage techniques within the Howiesons Poort sequence with a progressive abandonment of the HP technological style argues against the saltational model for its disappearance while the technological differences between the Sibudu and Blombos Still Bay artifacts considerably weaken an interpretation of similarities between the assemblages and their grouping into the same cultural unit. Limited sampling of a fragmented record may explain why simple models of cultural evolution do not seem to apply to a complex reality.

No MeSH data available.