Pleistocene shorelines in the Western Cape and South-West Africa


  • O. Davies Natal Museum


This paper describes detailed investigations of the exposed shorelines of the Atlantic coast of southern Africa as far north as R. Olifants and between Walvis Bay and R. Ugab, and summaries of those in the intervening stretch which is controlled by the diamond-companies. It is not possible to travel north of R. Ugab.

Most of the coastal plain is blanketed with terrestrial wash and blown sand, which have concealed practically all exposures above 18 m. In the low-level beaches is abundant cold-water fauna of modern species, from which radiocarbon-dates, not very reliable, have been obtained for the sea-levels up to 9 m. Artefacts are very scarce.

South of the Berg River there is practically no evidence for higher shorelines, and it is doubtful if they exist. Near R. Olifants si a good terrace at about 30 m occasionally carrying warm-water fauna, to which grades the principal river-terrace with rolled Early-Middle Acheulian artefacts. In this valley there is one higher terrace, and evidence for deep entrenchment after the 30-metre gravel.




How to Cite

Davies, O. (2021). Pleistocene shorelines in the Western Cape and South-West Africa. Southern African Humanities, 21(3), 719–65. Retrieved from