Missing pieces: Later Stone Age surface assemblages on the greater Mapungubwe landscape, South Africa
AbstractNew evidence demonstrates a difference between forager lithics at rock shelters and open-air assemblages on the Greater Mapungubwe Landscape, northern South Africa. This paper examines the relationship between these two contexts. A field survey was conducted with the goal of identifying Later Stone Age surface scatters, and twenty-five of the total assemblages identified were collected and analysed. A comparison between these assemblages and those from five excavated and dated rock shelters showed discontinuities in the forager cultural record of the region. It was found that two assemblage types exist on the landscape, one dominated by cryptocrystalline silicates, the other by quartz. Possible factors that may have produced these different assemblage types include access to raw material, special-purpose sites, the formal use of space, forager relationships with agriculturalists, the production of the quartz-dominated assemblages by Khoekhoe herders or agriculturalists, or some combination of these. The data reported here suggest that an important aspect of the total forager record is missed when the entire landscape is not considered. Adopting a landscape approach that involves excavating a series of sites in a variety of contexts—rock shelters, open-air sites, rain-control sites and farmer-appropriated rock shelters—is proposed as a way forward.
How to Cite
Forssman, T. (2013). Missing pieces: Later Stone Age surface assemblages on the greater Mapungubwe landscape, South Africa. Southern African Humanities, 25, 65–85. Retrieved from https://sahumanities.org/index.php/sah/article/view/384