Evidence of hunting and hafting during the Middle Stone Age at Sibidu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A multianalytical approach

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230 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Points and point fragments from Middle Stone Age layers (dated to between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago) from Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, were examined to establish whether they were used as hafted spearheads for hunting. A multi-analytical approach was followed, using macrofracture analysis, use-wear analysis, and residue analysis. In addition to the analytical processes, an experimental project tested the results of the macrofracture analysis on local raw materials. The study shows that points from Sibudu Cave were indeed hafted and used as hunting tools. It was further established that plant twine was probably the preferred binding material to attach the points to wooden hafts. Resin may have been used as an adhesive in combination with the binding material. A detailed examination of the ochre distribution on the points confirmed that ochre was also part of the hafting arrangement. The need to use a dependable methodology for the recognition of hunting and hafting traces on stone points from the southern African Middle Stone Age context is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-300
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hafting
  • Hunting
  • Macrofracture analysis
  • Middle stone age lithic points
  • Ochre
  • Residue analysis
  • South Africa
  • Use-wear analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology

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