Quartz Knapping Strategies in the Howiesons Poort at Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

Paloma de la Pena
Lyn Wadley

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The variability associated with Sibudu's Howiesons Poort Industry highlights the unpredictable trajectory of technology in the Middle Stone Age. We reach this conclusion through a study of the technology on quartz from one of the Howiesons Poort layers (Grey Sand) from Sibudu rock shelter. Quartz bifacial technology has previously been described at the site, but this new in-depth study of the quartz technology reveals other strategies. First is the recurring employment of bipolar knapping, formerly considered as a defining feature of the Later Stone Age. Secondly, we highlight a laminar technology with emphasis on small quartz bladelets. Bipolar cores are most common, followed by prismatic cores. The knapping strategies in Grey Sand seem to involve systematic recycling and the deliberate production of microliths.