Identifying the Collector: Evidence for Human Processing of the Cape Dune Mole-Rat,Bathyergus suillus, from Blombos Cave, Southern Cape, South Africa
Download Full Text
The remains of Cape dune mole-rats are commonly found in archaeological sites in the Cape but identifying the agents responsible for their introduction, namely humans, raptors or other carnivores, has until now been largely speculative. An examination of mole-rats caught and cooked by contemporary farmworkers in the southern Cape showed distinctive burning patterns on the incisors and premaxillae. Similar charring is observable on mole-rat post-cranial bones recovered from the Later Stone Age layers at Blombos Cave suggesting that mole-rats were brought to this site by humans, cooked in the ethnographically observed manner and eaten. Extending this study to other archaeological sites in the Cape may help identify the prehistoric collectors of these animals.
Cape Dune Mole-Rats, Diet, Ethno-Archaeology, Later Stone Age, Southern Cape
Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 24, no. 7 (1997).
Henshilwood, C. S., "Identifying the Collector: Evidence for Human Processing of the Cape Dune Mole-Rat,Bathyergus suillus, from Blombos Cave, Southern Cape, South Africa" (1997). KIP Articles. 2696.