Rising Star expedition to lift hominin fossils from deep cave in Cradle of Humankind (South Africa) started

The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, a cave complex 40km north of Johannesburg, is the world’s richest hominin find spot. It is home to world famous sites such as Sterkfontein, Kromdraai, Swartkrans and Taung. The most recent finds include several fossils of Australopithecus sediba at the Malapa cave site. Professor Lee Berger (University of…

Tortoise exploitation at the MSA site of Blombos (South Africa)

While classic zooarchaeological studies mainly focus on large mammal remains, a recent paper by Thompson and Henshilwood focus on the exploitation of tortoises. Their aim is to demonstrate through a detailed taphonomic analysis, rather than through mere association, that tortoises are exploited in the Still Bay layers of Blombos Cave. 9,686 specimens from two layers…

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.…