The Late Pleistocene microlithic at Putslaagte 8 rockshelter in the Western Cape, South Africa
This paper describes the late Pleistocene early microlithic at Putslaagte 8 (PL8) rockshelter in the eastern Cederberg of the Western Cape. Focus is placed on: 1) characterising the pre-Robberg Early Later Stone Age (ELSA) and Robberg at the site, and 2) determining if and how the ELSA anticipates the Robberg. Results suggest that the ELSA in the eastern Cederberg is associated with the production of hornfels blades with a shift in production emphasis towards smaller silcrete blades during the Robberg. Blade production systems and modes of delivery, however, are quite different in the two periods. Bipolar technology forms only a minor component of the ELSA technology and there is minimal use of quartz despite its presence in the landscape. This contrasts with the ELSA at sites on the opposite side of the Cape Fold Mountain Range and in the north of the subcontinent where bipolar technology and a preference for quartz appear to be defining features. The late Pleistocene sequence at PL8 is particularly significant for helping to characterise the pre-Robberg in the southwest of southern Africa - an area where the nature of the ELSA is currently underdefined.