<span>The Palaeolithic sequence at Umgababa Ilemenite Diggings</span>


  • O. Davies Natal Museum


The upper part of the fossil dune at Umgababa, 35 km south of Durban, was excavated twenty years ago to recover ilmenite. The stratification revealed was bright red sand, fairly consolidated, tobelow the floor of the workings, probably extending downwards some 35 m to rock; above this sand there had been left by the miners a hill of cross-bedded calcarenite about 8 m thick, and overlying this there had been further red sand up to close to the surface. In this paper are described the artefacts found at various levels or derived from them. About one metre below the interface of the lower redsand and calcarenite were pieces of very late Acheulian with picks which indicate a transition to theTugela Industry. The interface had been a surface on which were many terrestrial molluscs, traces of bushes and a few pieces of the Tugela Industry. Within the upper red sand was a layer of nodules with artefacts of the Pietersburg Industry. In a valley which had been eroded and apparently refilled by slumping was a collection of Late Stone Age artefacts, and another collection, probably not in situ but dumped by the miners, seemed to belong to a different Late Stone Age industry. On the surface of the dune were middens with Iron Age pottery.

The section is interpreted geochronologically. The lower red sand was probably deposited by wind during the Penultimate (Riss, Saale) Glaciation while sea-level was dropping, and was perhaps calcified from the associated beach-shell. To this stage belongs the end-Acheulian Industry. In the warm and wet Last Interglacial (Eem I) the dune was decalcified and slumped, so that the industry it contained no longer rested on a marked land-surface. The surface of the dune became vegetated and was occupied by the Tugela Industry. As sea-level dropped after Eem I sand again accumulated on the dune and became calcified. The top of the calcarenite member is not clearly exposed. At some stage it ceased to accumulate, and later more red sand was deposited on it, perhaps from an old dune ratherthan from the beach which would be far to the east. This must have taken place in the first half of theLast Glaciation (Warm, Weichse I); and during an interval in the deposition a Middle Stone Age Industry occupied a surface. The later industries defined were presumably deposited at times duringthe Holocene.



How to Cite

Davies, O. (2021). &lt;span&gt;The Palaeolithic sequence at Umgababa Ilemenite Diggings&lt;/span&gt;. Southern African Humanities, 25(1), 41–59. Retrieved from https://sahumanities.org/index.php/sah/article/view/42