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Title: The place beyond the trees: renewed excavations of the Middle Stone Age deposits at Olieboomspoort in the Waterberg Mountains of the South African Savanna Biome
Authors: Val, Aurore
Peña, Paloma de la
Duval, Mathieu
Bansal, Suramya
Colino Polo, Fernando
Culey, Jasmin Oliviah
Hodgskiss, Tammy
Morrissey, Peter
Murray, Andrew
Murungi, May L.
Neumann, Frank H. ‎
Shadrach, Kelita
Kragh Thomsen, Marianne
Van der Ryst, Maria M.
Witelson‬, ‪David M.
Zhao, J. X.
Stratford, Dominic
Keywords: Savanna Biome;Pietersburg industry;Rock shelter archaeology;Site formation processes;Palaeoenvironments;Equus capensis
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 2021, 3 (116)
Abstract: Olieboomspoort is one of the few rock shelters in the vast interior of southern Africa documenting pulses of occupation from the Acheulean until the end of the Later Stone Age. Revil Mason excavated the site in 1954 and attributed the large Middle Stone Age (MSA) lithic assemblage to his middle phase of the so-called Pietersburg Industry. Recent work at the site has focused on the Holocene layers, but little is known about the earlier phases of shelter use. Here, we provide some background to the shelter, give a history of past research and present initial results following renewed fieldwork at the site. The MSA deposits contain abundant lithic artefacts and ochre, and we present an initial description of these cultural remains. Palynological analysis reveals limited potential for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, but some faunal remains indicate open grasslands. We dated two equid teeth that provided highly consistent combined U-series-ESR estimates, resulting in a mean age of 150 ± 14 ka (1σ). Even when considering potential sources of uncertainty such as variations in water-intake, these fossils can securely be dated to Marine Isotopic Stage 6. Our reappraisal of site formation processes highlights the fact that the archaeological assemblage is strongly time-averaged. We discuss these different results in the context of a recently rekindled interest in the so-called Pietersburg Industry.
ISSN: 1866-9557
DOI: 10.1007/s12520-021-01302-7
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Laboratorio de Geología
Datación por Resonancia Paramagnética Electrónica
Geocronología y Geología

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