Before Farming

A late Pleistocene microlithic Later Stone Age assemblage from coastal Namaqualand, South Africa

Before Farming (2008), 2008, (1), 1–9.

Abstract

This paper documents the first known Pleistocene Later Stone Age site (AK2006/001G) in coastal Namaqualand. Located just north of Kleinsee, the site presents as an open stone artefact scatter in a gravel lag deposit. The artefacts are almost exclusively of silcrete which was obtained from a nearby outcrop. The assemblage has characteristics typical of southern Africa's late Pleistocene microlithic assemblages but unfortunately cannot be directly dated. Bladelets and bipolar cores are common, while retouched items are rare and unstandardised. Unfortunately artefact breakage is ubiquitous, undoubtedly due to the site's context. Such assemblages have frequently been documented in the well-watered mountainous southern and eastern regions of South Africa, a zone to which they were long thought to be restricted. The open, semi-desert setting of this site in the far northwest is therefore unique and it is possible that many more such open sites may yet be found.

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Orton, Jayson