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Heat treatment in the Still Bay: A case study on Hollow Rock Shelter, South Africa
Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. University of Johannesburg, South Africa. (Arkeologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8747-4131
2018 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2352-4103, Vol. 21, p. 712-720Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Still Bay, with its carefully crafted bifacial points, is one of the most enigmatic technocomplexes in the later Middle Stone Age of the southern African subcontinent. Heat treatment of silcrete has been documented in the Still Bay but it has recently been suggested that its application was restricted to the later stages of the production of points. This would confer a special role to heat treatment in the Still Bay if compared to the following Howiesons Poort technocomplex. In this paper, we analyse the silcrete assemblage from Hollow Rock Shelter for heating proxies to provide a first picture of the prevalence of heat treatment in the Still Bay and to investigate whether points were treated differently in terms of heat treatment than other end-products. Our results show no evidence of later-stage heat treatment but, on the contrary, comprehensive data to support heat treatment in an early stage of reduction. Relatively less silcrete was heated in the Still Bay than in later Howiesons Poort, revealing technological differences between both phases. We found a significant number of silcrete pieces that exploded during heat treatment and were still knapped afterwards, indicating a heating process that involved fast heating rates. We also found that points were not treated differently than the other end-products. These findings have implications for our understanding of the fabrication of bifacial points and the Still Bay chaîne opératoire in general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 21, p. 712-720
Keywords [en]
Bifacial point production, Transformative technology, Lithic technology, Silcrete, Early pyrotechnology, Middle Stone Age archaeology
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Humanities, Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77465DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.08.046ISI: 000449797000064Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85052465248OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-77465DiVA, id: diva2:1243302
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2014-2100German Research Foundation (DFG), SCHM 3275/2-1Available from: 2018-08-30 Created: 2018-08-30 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved

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