Middle Stone Age technology from MIS 6 and MIS 5 at Klipfonteinrand 1, South Africa

Publication Name

Quaternary Science Reviews


Klipfonteinrand 1 (KFR1) is a foundational but poorly documented Middle Stone Age (MSA) site located in the south west of South Africa. Originally excavated by John Parkington in 1969 but undated for more than 50 years, the MSA component of the sequence formed a part of Thomas Volman's influential culture-historic technocomplex scheme. Renewed excavations identified four distinct MSA stratigraphic units at the site, the oldest two of which date to ∼85 ka and ∼156 ka. This paper presents an analysis of ∼4500 artefacts from the oldest units to test the viability of Volman's scheme and its derivatives. Coeval assemblages from other regional sites are also reviewed to test alternative models of regional technological variability driven by demographic dynamics in MIS 6 and MIS 5. We find that assemblages from neither of the deepest two stratigraphic units at KFR1 map perfectly to prevailing technocomplex schemes for southern Africa, and that they are also distinct from nearby assemblages of comparable age. Ultimately, KFR1 provides an important data point furthering the identification of variable technological adaptations during an important phase in the evolution of human behaviour.

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Australian Research Council



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