miércoles, 1 de julio de 2015

What stone tools found in southern tip of Africa tell us about the human story

The open-air site Uitspankraal 7 in the Western Cape of South Africa, where unexpected artefacts were found. Alex Mackay

... For the last five years we have inspected caves and open air sites around the Doring River in the eastern Cederberg area located in the south-west of South Africa. This is some 6000km south-west from the typical Nubian belt.

At a site named Uitspankraal 7, the team identified what appeared at first glance to be Nubian cores. To confirm this unexpected find, we returned to the site to carry out detailed analysis of these cores and the surrounding artefacts last year. In the end, our analyses confirmed that the cores perfectly matched the key identifying characteristics of the Nubian.

As part of the same project, excavations were done 30km away at the site of Mertenhof. In dense artefact layers deep in the cultural sequence, a team led by our colleague Aara Welz revealed large numbers of stone points and a single example of a Nubian core, with two more examples added in this year’s excavation. The time period to which these artefacts relate is known as the post-Howiesons Poort, and is well-dated to around 50 000 - 60 000 years ago at sites across southern Africa.

Do these Nubian artefacts reflect a great migration of north-east Africans to the continent’s southern tip? Or are they the result of convergence in the face of finite possibilities? [...] theconversation.com/

This article was based on a paper in the journal PLOS One.