Fishing with gorges: Testing a functional hypothesis

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4 Citations (Scopus)


A somewhat enigmatic artefact appearing at three sites on the Western Cape coast, South Africa, are bone bipoints, termed ‘fish gorges’. These bipoints are found associated with large quantities of fish and shellfish remains in predominantly estuarine environments. They have a discreet appearance between 12 and 8 thousand years ago. Based on this association and their morphological similarity to North African and American fish gorges, these bipoints are presumed to have served the same purpose, although alternative functions have been proposed. Here I explore the appropriateness of these functional names through experimentation and use-trace analysis. Fishing produces few diagnostic use-traces, but based on the archaeological evidence it is possible to discount some of the alternative functions that have been proposed. We can infer the use of plant fibre lines on the bone bipoints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-607
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Bone bipoints
  • Experimental archaeology
  • Fish gorges
  • Southern Africa
  • Use-trace analyses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology


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