Toward a definition of the Fauresmith: the view from Canteen Kopje, Northern Cape, South Africa.

Lotter, M.G.1, Shadrach, K.2, Kuman, K.2, Stratford, D.2 & Leader, G.M.3

  1. Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Pretoria, Private bag X20 Hatfield, Tshwane 0028, South Africa;mattlotter@gmail.com
  2. School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, WITS 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa;
  3. Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, University Museum, Room 420, Pennsylvania, United States of America;

Abstract

Canteen Kopje has yielded rare in-situ assemblages of Fauresmith material, a poorly defined industry often associated with the later Acheulean. The Fauresmith assemblages yielded from other sites, such as Kathu Pan, contain precocious developments in technology (e.g., points and blades) as early as ~0.5 Ma–features which only become widespread in the ensuing Middle Stone Age (MSA). The Fauresmith as a regional industry provides insight into technological practices during the period of significant behavioural diversification associated with archaic Homo sapiens and their transition to modern humans. Canteen Kopje is a site that preserves a complex and stratified sequence of upper aeolian sands, bearing Later Stone Age, MSA and Fauresmith assemblages, underlain by alluvial gravels that contain three Earlier Acheulean assemblages. Previous excavations at Canteen Kopje were conducted with relatively low spatial resolution. Research presented here, on Pit 6 and Pit 4 West (P4W), provide greater spatial, stratigraphic and contextual resolution of a Fauresmith horizon at the site, using a multi-disciplinary, stratigraphically sensitive fine resolution approach. A nuanced assessment of the Fauresmith’s context was developed, which included both macroscopic and microscopic analyses. The datasets from the two pits indicate variability in site formation and technological processes. This research has allowed us to provide a techno-typological definition for key characteristics of the Fauresmith at the site. This more detailed assessment of the Fauresmith at Canteen Kopje contributes to our understanding of raw material selection and technological variability during this period between sites in the interior of South Africa.


Subject Communication
Language of text English
Topics AFR.001: Recent Advances in Early Stone Age Studies in Africa, New Insights on the Oldowan and the Acheulian Stone Technology
Keywords Canteen Kopje; Fauresmith; assemblage variability; later Acheulean;
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