<span>Identification of the sedge <em>Cladium mariscus</em> subsp. <em>jamaicense</em> and its possible use in the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu, KwaZulu-Natal</span>

Authors

  • C. Sievers University of the Witwatersrand
  • A. M. Muasya University of Cape Town

Abstract

The Middle Stone Age deposits at Sibudu contain sedge (Cyperaceae) nutlets, which previously have been interpreted as indirect evidence of bedding. Scanning electron microscopy was used to identify the sedge nutlets through comparison of archaeological specimens with modern analogues. The presence of nutlets of Cladium mariscus (L.) Pohl subsp. jamaicense (Crantz) Kuk, a 1-3 m tall sedge with long scabrid leaves, was unexpected and challenges the bedding hypothesis because of the minute sharp hairs along the midrib and margins of the leaf blades. Nevertheless, we argue for the use of Cladium as bedding material, possibly as the foundation on which softer material was laid. It is possible that the Cladium nutlets and rhizomes may have been eaten and that the plant was also used as kindling or fuel.

How to Cite

Sievers, C., & Muasya, A. M. (2013). <span>Identification of the sedge <em>Cladium mariscus</em> subsp. <em>jamaicense</em> and its possible use in the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu, KwaZulu-Natal</span>. Southern African Humanities, 23, 77-86. Retrieved from http://sahumanities.org/ojs/index.php/SAH/article/view/57

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Articles