Technological trends in the South African MSA?

Sarah Wurz gives an excellent overview of the technological diversity in the South African MSA in the latest issue of Current Anthropology. She provides a detailed account of the archaeological record, starting with the badly understood transition between the ESA and MSA (e.g. the Fauresmith industry) estimated to have occurred between 500 and 280ka BP. She then goes on to describe the MIS-5 MSA, characterized by the MSA I, Klasies River, with blade reduction, and MSA II, Mosel Bay, with recurrent Levallois. Best understood is the MIS-4 MSA which is characterized by distinct technological pulses of short duration: the Still Bay industry and the Howiesons Poort industry.

This article provides an excellent overview of a very complicated archaeological record and stresses how the spatiochronological integrity of the South African MSA is mostly insufficient to identify clear trends, and is far from “sorted fully”, nevertheless she identifies some interesting technological trends which provide food for thought on the nature of behavioural change and innovation.

Full reference:

Wurz, S. in press. Technological Trends in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa between MIS 7 and MIS 3. Current Anthropology , (free access).

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