African Archaeological Review

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 33–57 | Cite as

Changing fashions in the Middle Stone Age: the stone artefact sequence from Klasies River main site, South Africa

  • Anne I. Thackeray


The analysis of Middle Stone Age artefact assemblages from the 1984–8 Deacon excavation of Klasies River main site on the southern Cape coast of South Africa emphasizes its importance as a source of information on the Late Pleistocene period. The trends in artefact variability noted in the previous 1967–8 Singer and Wymer excavation are described in more detail and it is concluded on typological grounds that the cave 1B assemblages which are associated with the anatomically modern human mandible no. 41815 are of the order of 100,000 years old. Rare, unstandardized retouch and the persistence of time-restricted patterning in the Klasies River main site Middle Stone Age sequence over periods in excess of 20,000 years represent significant differences between Middle and some parts of Later Stone Age sequences. It is suggested that this may be a consequence of conservatism under relatively low-density demographic conditions rather than a reflection of the absence of modern behaviour among Middle Stone Age toolmakers.


Stone Artefact Cape Coast Artefact Sequence Pleistocene Period Artefact Assemblage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


L'analyse des industries lithiques de l'âge de la Pierre Moyen provenant des fouilles Deacon au site principal à Klasies River, sur la côte sud du cap de l'Afrique du Sud, souligne l'importance de ce site pour ses renseignements sur le Pléistocene récent. Les tendances de variabilité dans le matériel culturel déjà constatées dans les fouilles précédentes de Singer et Wymer (1967–8) sont présentées ici en davantage de détail. L'étude typologique amène à la conclusion que les industries de la grotte 1B, associées à la mandibule no. 41815 de forme humaine moderne, ont un âge approximative de 100,000 ans. La présence assez rare d'une retouche non-standardisée et la persistance des modalités, chronologiquement bien définies, dans la succession des industries de l'âge de la Pierre Moyen au site principal à Klasies River pendant des périodes de plus de 20,000 ans constituent des différences considérables entre l'âge de la Pierre Moyen et quelques phases de l'âge de la Pierre Récent. On propose que cela peut être la conséquence d'un conservatisme sous les conditions de densité démographique faible, plutôt qu'en déduire que la mode de comportement caractéristique de l'homme moderne manquait aux gens de l'âge de la Pierre Moyen.


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© Cambridge University Press 1989

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  • Anne I. Thackeray

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