“Landscape-scale perspectives on Stone Age behavioural change from the Tankwa Karoo, South Africa”

New article published by Emily Hallinan in Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa.

Southern Africa is an ecologically highly varied region, yet many generalisations about past human behaviour are drawn from rock shelter sites in coastal and montane Fynbos Biome environments. The Tankwa Karoo region offers the opportunity to extend our archaeological knowledge from the well-researched Western Cape into the arid interior Karoo in order to better capture behavioural variability and identify specific adaptations to more marginal conditions. This research presents the results of off-site surveys in the Tankwa Karoo, which spans the Cape to Karoo transition, mapping surface stone artefacts from the Earlier and Middle Stone Ages. The observed patterns in landscape use and lithic technology for each time-period were tested against a set of expectations based on previous research in the Western Cape and the Upper Karoo. The results indicate that in the Earlier Stone Age the most arid parts of the Tankwa Karoo saw only ephemeral use, with the better-watered mountain fringes preferred. In contrast, various strategies in the Middle Stone Age allowed groups to occupy these marginal parts of the landscape, including new kinds of technological behaviour suggestive of specific adaptations to this environment.

More info: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0067270X.2021.1960675

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