New radiometric ages for the Fauresmith industry from Kathu Pan, southern Africa: Implications for the Earlier to Middle Stone Age transition

Naomi Porat, Michael Chazan, Rainer Grün, Maxime Aubert, Vera Eisenmann, Liora Kolska Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Fauresmith lithic industry of South Africa has been described as transitional between the Earlier and Middle Stone Age. However, radiometric ages for this industry are inadequate. Here we present a minimum OSL age of 464 ± 47 kyr and a combined U-series-ESR age of 542-107+140 kyr for an in situ Fauresmith assemblage, and three OSL ages for overlying Middle and Later Stone Age strata, from the site of Kathu Pan 1 (Northern Cape Province, South Africa). These ages are discussed in relation to the available lithostratigraphy, faunal and lithic assemblages from this site. The results indicate that the Kathu Pan 1 Fauresmith assemblage predates transitional industries from other parts of Africa e.g. Sangoan, as well as the end of the Acheulean in southern Africa. The presence of blades, in the dated Fauresmith assemblages from Kathu Pan 1 generally considered a feature of modern human behaviour (McBrearty and Brooks, 2000, The revolution that wasn't: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior, J. Human Evolution 39, 453-563),-provides evidence supporting the position that blade production in southern Africa predated the Middle Stone Age and the advent of modern Homo sapiens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-283
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Blade production
  • ESR
  • Earlier Stone Age
  • Fauresmith
  • Kathu Pan
  • Later Stone Age
  • Middle Stone Age
  • OSL
  • Prepared core technology

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