Site formation processes at Pinnacle Point Cave 13B (Mossel Bay, Western Cape Province, South Africa): resolving stratigraphic and depositional complexities with micromorphology
Site PP13B is a cave located on the steep cliffs of Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay in Western Cape Province, South Africa. The depositional sequence of the cave, predating Marine Isotopic Stage 11 (MIS 11) and continuing to present, is in the form of isolated sediment exposures with different depositional facies and vertical and lateral variations. Micromorphological analysis demonstrated that a suite of natural sedimentation processes operated during the development of the sequence ranging from water action to aeolian activity, and from speleothem formations to plant colonization and root encrustation. At the same time, anthropogenic sediments that are mainly in the form of burnt remains from combustion features (e.g., wood ash, charcoal, and burnt bone) were accumulating. Several erosional episodes have resulted in a complicated stratigraphy, as discerned from different depositional and post-depositional features. The cave is associated with a fluctuating coastal environment, frequent changes in sea level and climate controlled patterns of sedimentation, and the presence or absence of humans.
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