Atmar and bernol farms: New acheulean sites in the lower sundays river valley, eastern cape province, South Africa

Matt Geoffrey Lotter, Kathleen Kuman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we document two new Acheulean sites located in alluvial terraces bordering the lower Sundays River, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. These terraces have been the subject of geomorphological studies in the past, and most recently they have been dated using the cosmogenic nuclide burial method (Erlanger et al. 2012; Granger et al. 2013). Here, we provide new data that help improve our understanding of the Eastern Cape Earlier Stone Age (ESA) sequence by providing a basic assessment of sile context, artefact typology and technology al two dated Acheulean locations: Atmar (0.65 ± 0.12Ma) and Bernol (1.14 ± 0.20 Ma) Farms. Until now, we have relied on two sites to interpret this region's early archaeology, Amanzi Springs and Geelhoutboom, the former being the only site to ever be excavated. This research thus provides the first well-dated ESA sites for this region, confirming the presence of Acheulean artefacts within these terraces, originally described by Ruddock (1957). Key trends in artefact production include: simple core reduction strategies on primarily cobble blajtks; low levels of reduction on all cores and formal tools; retouched tools occur primarily on flake blanks with little emphasis on careful edge modification; large cutting tools (LCTs) are variable in size and shape, flake blanks are favoured and shaped through bifacial reduction across large portions of the tools, yet cortex is retained on most, which oivrall indicates that shaping is limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalSouth African Archaeological Bulletin
Issue number207
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Acheulean
  • Alluvial terraces
  • Atmar farm
  • Bernol farm
  • Earlier stone age
  • Sundays river valley

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology


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