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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 141–176 | Cite as

The Organization of Later Stone Age Lithic Technology in the Caledon Valley, Southern Africa

  • Peter J. Mitchell
Article

Abstract

Paleoclimatic data indicate that the Pleistocene/Holocene transition was a period of considerable ecological change in the Caledon Valley of the southern African interior. Stone artefact assemblages from sites in one part of this region, the Phutiatsana ea Thaba Bosiu (PTB) Basin of western Lesotho, were analyzed in order to investigate whether changes in settlement and subsistence strategies during this period are also reflected in the organization of lithic technologies. It appears that although technological solutions to the problems of subsistence risk may have been emphasized during the late Pleistocene, social means, such as exchange, dominated at the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary. Subsequent innovation or adoption of new formal tool types suggests that both strategies were important from the middle Holocene onwards.

Dans la vallée de Caledon à l'intérieur sud-africain les données paléoclimatiques indiquent que la transition du pléistocène à l'holocène était une période de changement écologique considérable. Les résultats des analyses des outils lithiques découverts aux gisements dans une partie de cette région, le Bassin de la Phuthiatsana ea Thaba Bosiu (PTB) du Lesotho occidentale, sont présentées pour examiner si des changements aux stratégies de subsistance et de l'occupation des sites se réfletent à l'organisation des technologies lithiques. Il semble que on a employé les solutions technologiques pour éviter les risques de subsistance pendant le pléistocène tardif, mais que des solutions sociales, comme l'échange, prédominaient à la frontière pléistocène-holocène. L'innovation ou l'adoption plus tard des nouvelles outils lithiques suggère que tous les deux stratégies étaient importantes depuis le début du moyen Holocène.

Southern Africa hunter–gatherers lithic technology palaeoenvironmental change Late Pleistocene Early/Mid Holocene 

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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Mitchell
    • 1
  1. 1.Pitt Rivers MuseumUniversity of OxfordOxfordUnited Kingdom

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