Nature and significance of the Howiesons Poort to post-Howiesons Poort transition at Klein Kliphuis rockshelter, South Africa


Alex Mackay


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Publication Date

July 2011


This paper considers the transition from Howiesons Poort to post-Howiesons Poort technologies at the rock shelter site of Klein Kliphuis, South Africa. The transition at this site is shown to be gradual, with incremental changes in material selection and in the size and shapes of flakes and cores. Implements which appear to blend characteristics of those distinctive of the earlier and later industries appear briefly at the mid-point of the transition. The results suggest that there is unlikely to have been an occupational hiatus between the Howiesons Poort and post-Howiesons Poort. Explanations for the Howiesons Poort phrased in terms of population expansion and contraction are also difficult to support. Technological changes at this time may relate to environmental variation, though the limited nature of terrestrial archives documenting changes in resource productivity necessitate that any such suggestion be made with caution.


Lithic Technology, Late Pleistocene, Southern Africa, Howiesons Poort, Demographic Change

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Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 38, no. 7 (2011-07-01).