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J Hum Evol ; 108: 110-130, 2017 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28622925


The Still Bay (SB) and Howiesons Poort (HP) were two significant techno-complexes in the Middle Stone Age and key periods in the expression of behavioral complexity. In this study, we compare the recently excavated fauna from the SB layers at Blombos Cave (BBC) with that from the HP levels at Klipdrift Shelter (KDS) in the southern Cape of South Africa. We consider our findings in the framework of recent models for early human subsistence behavior. In particular, we link our study with models involving resource intensification to examine whether foraging strategies in the HP were more or less intensive than those in the SB. Based on our criteria used to assess intensification-the exploitation of low-ranked prey, the processing of low-utility elements, transport decisions, and occupational intensity-intensive subsistence strategies are more evident at KDS than BBC. Our results suggest that low-ranked elements were processed more heavily and diet breath was broader at KDS than at BBC. However, foraging ranges may have been more extensive at BBC than at KDS. Taphonomic data also suggests that the SB at BBC was a low-intensity, sporadically occupied period in contrast to the high-intensity occupations during the HP at KDS. We argue that this may be related to differences in mobility and residential patterns between these techno-complexes.

Arqueologia , Baías , Cavernas , Fósseis , Animais , Humanos , África do Sul , Fatores de Tempo
PLoS One ; 11(7): e0157408, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27383620


The Middle Stone Age (MSA) of southern Africa, and in particular its Still Bay and Howiesons Poort lithic traditions, represents a period of dramatic subsistence, cultural, and technological innovation by our species, Homo sapiens. Climate change has frequently been postulated as a primary driver of the appearance of these innovative behaviours, with researchers invoking either climate instability as a reason for the development of buffering mechanisms, or environmentally stable refugia as providing a stable setting for experimentation. Testing these alternative models has proved intractable, however, as existing regional palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental records remain spatially, stratigraphically, and chronologically disconnected from the archaeological record. Here we report high-resolution records of environmental shifts based on stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in ostrich eggshell (OES) fragments, faunal remains, and shellfish assemblages excavated from two key MSA archaeological sequences, Blombos Cave and Klipdrift Shelter. We compare these records with archaeological material remains in the same strata. The results from both sites, spanning the periods 98-73 ka and 72-59 ka, respectively, show significant changes in vegetation, aridity, rainfall seasonality, and sea temperature in the vicinity of the sites during periods of human occupation. While these changes clearly influenced human subsistence strategies, we find that the remarkable cultural and technological innovations seen in the sites cannot be linked directly to climate shifts. Our results demonstrate the need for scale-appropriate, on-site testing of behavioural-environmental links, rather than broader, regional comparisons.

Arqueologia , Mudança Climática , Casca de Ovo/química , Meio Ambiente , Paleontologia , Animais , Carbono/química , Cavernas , Fósseis , Geografia , Atividades Humanas , Humanos , Oxigênio/química , África do Sul , Struthioniformes