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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 93–119 | Cite as

Late Pleistocene Technology at Rose Cottage Cave: A Search for Modern Behavior in an MSA Context

  • Amelia M. B. Clark
Article

Abstract

Recent excavations at Rose Cottage Cave, located in the Free State, South Africa, have revealed both a transitional assemblage, dated to ca. 20,000 bp, and a final Middle Stone Age (MSA) assemblage, dated to ca. 28,000 bp. Preliminary analysis of these assemblages was undertaken to determine if the current European model of a “cultural revolution” for the emergence of the Upper Palaeolithic can be applied to the southern African evidence. Examination of these assemblages revealed that differences occurred between the transition in Europe and that in southern Africa in both the chronology of the transition and the degree to which this complete cultural package is linked to the emergence of Late Stone Age (LSA) technology. The methods of lithic production, the chronology of the MSA/LSA transition, and the associated behavioral characteristics were examined and results indicated that the technological change which occurred during the MSA/LSA transition was not a dramatic innovation in technology but, rather, a shift in the emphasis of production from a level of technology already in place and demonstrate a level of continuity between the MSA and the LSA. As a gradual occurrence, the MSA/LSA transition does not seem to fit the time frame for the European Upper Palaeolithic; it both occurs at a later period and takes longer to transpire. In addition, the origins of symbolic use of lithics appear to lie within the MSA, indicating that a more complex set of behavioral adaptation was occurring in the late Pleistocene in southern Africa, and that the MSA/LSA transition in this region does not adequately conform to the model of a revolutionary shift in behavior and technology that is proposed for the Middle/Upper Palaeolithic transition in Europe

South Africa Middle Stone Age Later Stone Age transition lithic technology symbolic behavior 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amelia M. B. Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandWits, JohannesburgSouth Africa

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