The archaeology of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phases IA and IB


  • J. Kaplan Agency for Cultural Resource Management
  • P. Mitchell University of Oxford


This paper reports on excavations carried out at three sites during the 1990s as part of efforts to mitigate the impact on Lesotho’s archaeological heritage of Phases IA and IB of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Two of the sites, ’Muela and Lithakong, were subsequently drowned, while the third, Liphofung, was investigated ahead of its development as a site museum and nature reserve. All three sites were occupied during the Holocene by Later Stone Age hunter-gatherers, principally by makers of post-classic Wilton assemblages, although Liphofung and ’Muela also preserve evidence of earlier use by people whose stone tool assemblages are better described as Early Wilton and Oakhurst. Comparisons are drawn with excavated material elsewhere in the Maloti-Drakensberg region, focusing on the contribution that the sites can make to cultural history, long-distance connections and contact with Farming Communities. The importance of undertaking comparable work ahead of Phase II of the LHWP is also emphasised.



How to Cite

Kaplan, J., & Mitchell, P. (2021). The archaeology of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phases IA and IB. Southern African Humanities, 24, 1–32. Retrieved from




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