A Geoarchaeological and Techno-Typological Investigation of the New P4W Fauresmith from Canteen Kopje, South Africa

Kelita Shadrach1, Dominic Stratford1, Kathleen Kuman1,2, George Michael Leader IV3, Matt Geoffrey Lotter4

  1. School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Email: kelitashadrach@gmail.com
  2. Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  3. Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States of America.
  4. Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


Canteen Kopje has yielded rare in-situ assemblages of the Fauresmith, 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 as early as ~0.5 Ma–features which only become widespread in the ensuing Middle Stone Age. The Fauresmith as a regional industry provides insight into technological practices during the period of significant behavioural diversification associated with archaic Homo sapiens. Studies of Fauresmith assemblages have often suffered from a lack of adequate contextual information. Previous excavations at Canteen Kopje were conducted with relatively low spatial resolution. A new excavation, Pit 4 West (P4W), was conducted in 2016 to investigate the spatial, stratigraphic and contextual association of the Fauresmith horizon in this area of the site in greater detail. A multi-disciplinary, stratigraphically sensitive, fine resolution geoarchaeological and geospatial approach was applied in this research. A nuanced assessment of the Fauresmith’s context was developed which included both macroscopic and microscopic sedimentological analyses. The combination of which has provided a dataset that indicates diverse depositional and post-depositional features affecting the Fauresmith assemblage in various ways and at different scales. The purpose of conducting a lithic techno-typological study was to try to isolate the different industries (above, below and including the Fauresmith) that were present within the P4W sequence and, based on these observations, compare to and combine the lithic dataset with the described sedimentological and spatial datasets produced for this research. This multi-disciplinary study has allowed for the clarification of the integrity of the Fauresmith in P4W. The artefact sample size for Fauresmith at Canteen Kopje was increased and the presence of diagnostic tools has aided in formally defining the Fauresmith in P4W.

Type Poster
Langue du texte intégral English
Thématiques AFR.001: Recent Advances in Early Stone Age Studies in Africa, New Insights on the Oldowan and the Acheulian Stone Technology
Mots-Clés Fauresmith; later Acheulean; regional industry; transitional industry; site formation;
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