Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Southern and East African Middle Stone Age: Geography and Culture

  • Sarah WurzEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1887

State of Knowledge and Current Debate


The term “Middle Stone Age” was introduced by South African pioneer archaeologists Goodwin and van Riet Lowe in 1929 to describe stone tool assemblages technologically distinct from those of the Early and Later Stone Age periods. Originally it referred to assemblages in which convergent flaking on prepared cores was used to produce unretouched pointed flakes with faceted platforms. It is now known that the Middle Stone Age encompasses a much wider range of technological and typological variability. The original definition of Middle Stone Age referred specifically to prepared platforms, but a wide variety of platform types, including plain, punctiform, dihedral, and laminar platforms, occur. According to Goodwin and van Riet Lowe, prepared core methodology is typical of the Middle Stone Age. Prepared cores are designed to produce preformed blanks for use with little or no further shaping by retouch. This encompasses as Levallois...

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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Human EvolutionUniversity of WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyHistory, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of BergenBergenNorway