The Howieson’s Poort Industry of Sibudu Cave


Lyn Wadley


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

December 2008


The Howieson's Poort Industry that overlies a Still Bay Industry at Sibudu has ages between 61.7 ± 1.5 and 64.7 ± 1.9 ka. The distinctive Howieson's Poort lithic assemblages are blade-rich with backed tools, especially segments. This industry is not monolithic; it shows change through time, for example, in the rock types used and in the size of segments. Hornfels and dolerite are the main rock types used throughout, but there is an intriguing use of crystal quartz for short, deep segments in the basal layers. The quartz segments seem to have been used as transversely hafted arrowheads, based on morphometric studies. Worked bone points that may have been arrowheads are present. The Industry is accompanied by a meat-procuring strategy focusing on small animals, such as the blue duiker, which are best caught in traps or nets. The Howieson's Poort Industry coincides with a mosaic of habitats: most prominent is evergreen forest in the vicinity of the shelter. Mineralogical studies suggest that there was greater humidity during these occupations than in the more recent Middle Stone Age occupations.


Howiesons Poort, Sibudu Cave, Quartz, Still Bay Industry

Document Type



South African Archaeological Society, Vol. 10 (2008-12-01).