The middle stone age at Klasies River, South Africa

Wurz, Sarah (Sarah Jacoba Deborah) (2000-12)

Thesis (D Phil)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Late Pleistocene, Middle Stone Age artefact sequence at the Klasies River main site, was studied to establish what information this held for inferences on the emergence of symbolic thought and communication. The approach adopted was to complement traditional typological analysis by a technological study of artefact production within the framework of the chafne opératoire. The results show that technology was aimed at producing preformed blanks. In the choice of materials, the technique and method of blank production and the retouch of blanks, arbitrary or stylistic choices were made. Changes in stylistic conventions can be documented through the sequence. Changing conventions in artefact production show that the lives of the people who made the artefacts were structured in a symbolic web. These results together with evidence from evolutionary biology, show that by at least 115 000 years ago, people were able to think and speak symbolically. This African archaeological evidence for the emergence of symbolism, a defining attribute of modem peoples, is much older than previously considered. KEYWORDS: Klasies River, Middle Stone Age, technology, symbolic communication, human evolution.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Latere Pleistoseen, Middel Steentydperk artefakte by Klasiesrivier vindplaas is bestudeer om te bepaal watter kennis ingewin kan word aangaande die ontstaan van simboliese denkwyse en kommunikasie. Die benadering wat gevolg is, was om tradisionele tipologiese analise te komplementeer met 'n tegnologiese studie van artefak produksie binne die raamwerk van die chafne opératoire. Die resultate demonstreer dat tegnologie gemik was op die produksie van voorafgevormde skilfers. Die keuse van roumateriaal, die tegniek en metode van produksie en die herafwerk van skilfers is gelei deur arbitrêre stilistiese keuses. Veranderinge in hierdie konvensies kan gedokumenteer word deur die hele sekwens. Hierdie verandering is tipies van mense wie se lewens gestruktureer word deur 'n simboliese web. Dié resultate, en dié van evolusionêre biologie, dui daarop dat mense reeds teen 115 000 jaar gelede simboliese denke en spraak magtig was. Hierdie bewyse vanuit Afrika vir die ontstaan van simboliese gedrag is veel vroeër as vantevore gereken. SLEUTEL WOORDE: Klasiesrivier, Middel Steentydperk, tegnologie, simboliese kommunikasie, menslike evolusie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51998
This item appears in the following collections: