Indications of pressure flaking more than 70 thousand years ago at Umhlatuzana Rock Shelter

Anders Högberg, Marlize Lombard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


With this short contribution, we present our first observations about the application of pressure flaking at Umhlatuzana Rock Shelter more than 70 000 years ago (70 ka). Presently, only three other Middle Stone Age sites have produced evidence of this knapping strategy at such deep time. Identifying more sites, such as Umhlatuzana, with evidence of Middle Stone Age pressure flaking demonstrates that knappers possessed know-how of the technique, enabling them to apply it when useful or necessary, and on a range of raw materials. Our findings indicate at least three applications of pressure flaking in the production of Still Bay and serrated points at Umhlatuzana. These applications seem to include the final shaping of Still Bay points, the deliberate flaking of serrated edges, and the thinning of point preforms. The points from Umhlatuzana currently represent the most extensive indication of pressure flaking as a well-developed part of the Middle Stone Age knapping repertoire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalSouth African Archaeological Bulletin
Issue number203
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Middle Stone Age
  • Pressure flaking
  • Serrated points
  • Still Bay
  • Umhlatuzana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology


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