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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 93–119 | Cite as

The Technology of the Early Oakhurst Lithic Techno-Complex from Klipdrift Cave, Southern Cape, South Africa

  • Kokeli P. Ryano
  • Sarah Wurz
  • Karen L. van Niekerk
  • Christopher S. Henshilwood
Original Article

Abstract

The analysis of the lithics recovered from the layers dating between cal bp 10,700 and cal bp 13,700 at Klipdrift Cave, southern Cape, South Africa, provides new information on the Oakhurst techno-complex. A comparison with contemporary sites such as Matjes River Rock Shelter indicates not only technological similarities, but also unexpected differences. The Klipdrift Cave Oakhurst shares many characteristics typical of this techno-complex from the southern Cape, for example, in the dominance of quartzite, irregular and unstandardised flakes; the occurrence of irregular cores; and typical large side and end scrapers. It differs from most coastal Oakhurst sites however, in the more intensive exploitation of quartz, and the presence of a blade component, especially in the lowermost layers. Palaeoenvironmental data, derived from stable isotope analysis of ostrich eggshell, suggest that it was dry in this region during this time period. This was partially a result of the colder conditions that prevailed during the Younger Dryas. The lithic technological production techniques are stable at Klipdrift Cave during the period that the site was occupied from cal bp 13,700 to cal bp 10,700. Our data suggest that the lithic technology did not change in response to possible climatic variability.

Keywords

Klipdrift Cave Oakhurst techno-complex Southern Cape South Africa 

Résumé

L'analyse des ensembles lithiques provenant des dépôts datés entre 13 700 et 10 760 ans BP à Klipdrift Cave, dans la région sud du Cap en Afrique du Sud, fournit de nouvelles informations sur l'industrie Oakhurst. La comparaison avec des sites contemporains tels que Matjes River Rock Shelter montre des similarités technologiques, mais aussi des différences inattendues. L'Oakhurst de Klipdrift Cave présente de nombreuses caractéristiques typiques de ce techno-complexe du sud du Cap, par exemple la prédominance de quartzite, d’éclats irréguliers et non-standardisés, la présence de nucléus irréguliers, ainsi que de grands grattoirs. Cette industrie diffère cependant de la plupart des sites côtiers Oakhurst par une exploitation du quartz plus intense et la présence de lames, et ce, particulièrement dans les couches les plus inférieures. Les données paléoenvironnementales, issues de l'analyse des isotopes stables sur des coquilles d'autruche, suggèrent un climat sec pour la région pour cette même période. Ceci s’explique partiellement comme une conséquence des conditions froides ayant prévalu dans la région au cours du Dryas inférieur. Les techniques mises en place pour la production lithique sont stables à Klipdrift Cave tout au long de la période d’occupation du site, c'est à dire entre 13 700 et 10 760 ans BP. Nos données suggèrent donc que les traditions technologiques n'ont pas changé en réponse aux possibles variations climatiques.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Grants to CSH, for the excavation and analyses of the KDC site, came from a National Research Foundation (NRF)/Department of Science and Technology funded Chair at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and from the University of Bergen, Norway. The work of S. Wurz was also supported by the NRF. Any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the author(s), and the NRF does not accept any liability in this regard. The Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) is furthermore thanked for financial support. Thanks go to Petro Keene and Samantha Mienies for their assistance in accessing the materials and preliminary sorting. We are grateful for the assistance of Raeesa Ganey (School of Statistics & Actuarial Sciences, Wits) and Silje Bentsen (School of Geography, Archaeology & Environmental Studies, Wits) with the statistical procedures. We thank Beta Analytic for their generous offer to recalibrate all the dates used in this manuscript. We also acknowledge insightful comments from anonymous reviewers.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kokeli P. Ryano
    • 1
  • Sarah Wurz
    • 2
    • 3
  • Karen L. van Niekerk
    • 3
    • 2
  • Christopher S. Henshilwood
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of History, School of HumanitiesThe University of DodomaDodomaTanzania
  2. 2.Evolutionary Studies InstituteUniversity of the WitsJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and ReligionUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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